Assassination victim was drugged

The Hamas commander Mahmoud
al-Mabhouh was injected with a strong sedative before being suffocated in his
hotel room by suspected Mossad agents, Dubai police have revealed.

The results of a toxicology report
released today show that the Hamas commander was paralysed by an injection of
succinylcholine, a fast-acting muscle relaxant. He was then suffocated with a

Succinylcholine is used in
intensive care to assist the insertion of a tracheal tube in emergency treatment
of conditions such as stroke, burns and drowning.

The drug does not induce loss of
consciousness or anaesthesia, meaning that al-Mabhouh would have been conscious
but unable to struggle as he was suffocated.

Major General Khamis Mattar Al
Mazeina, deputy commander of Dubai police, said that the drug would have caused
“immediate and temporary paralysis” of the victim.

“The assassins used this
method so that it would seem that his death was natural. There were no signs of
resistance shown by the victim,” he said.

Al-Mabhouh was murdered in his room
at the Al Bustan Rotana hotel on January 19. His body was not found by staff
until the following day.

Dubai police also said that they
would soon name a new suspect in the case, bringing the total number of named
agents to 27. Police revealed last week that 12 of these were carrying British
passports. Several UK citizens living in Israel had their identities stolen by
the killers.

Three Palestinians are also being
held in Dubai in connection with the killing.

UK agents are to meet six of the
dual British-Israeli nationals whose passports were used, the Serious Organised
Crime Agency (Soca) said.

The genuine British
passport-holders will be interviewed at the UK Embassy in Tel Aviv as potential
witnesses to a crime. Officers will meet the other six in the near future.

A Soca spokesman said: “We are
arranging to speak to the six genuine passport holders who are resident in
Israel as potential witnesses to a crime. Those meetings will take place in the
British Embassy.”

He said the Israeli authorities had
been informed and had “no issue” with the meetings taking place.

Dubai police say they are almost
certain that Israel’s spy agency Mossad was behind the assassination. Israel has
declined to comment.

Administered in sufficient
quantities, succinylcholine is fatal. The drug has occasionally been used for
executions by lethal injection, but is no longer favoured. However, it has been
used in a number of murders.

Dubai police said it was not clear
how much of the drug had been administered to al-Mabhouh, but it was not the
cause of death.