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'Netanyahu Blessed Al-Mabhouh Hit Squad Before Mission'

Sunday Times says Prime Minister was briefed about Dubai operation at Mossad headquarters, gave the green light and wished the team luck.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 2/20/2010, 11:12 PM / Last Update: 2/20/2010, 11:05 PM

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu met the Mossad team that assassinated senior Hamas terrorist Mahmoud Mabhouh before their mission and wished them luck, according to the British Sunday Times

“In early January two black Audi A6 limousines drove up to the main gate of a building on a small hill in the northern suburbs of Tel Aviv: the headquarters of Mossad, the Israeli secret intelligence agency, known as the 'midrasha',” the newspaper reported Sunday.

“Binyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, stepped out of his car and was greeted by Meir Dagan, the 64-year-old head of the agency. Dagan, who has walked with a stick since he was injured in action as a young man, led Netanyahu and a general to a briefing room.

"According to sources with knowledge of Mossad, inside the briefing room were some members of a hit squad. As the man who gives final authorisation for such operations, Netanyahu was briefed on plans to kill Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, a member of Hamas, the militant Islamic group that controls Gaza.”

“Mossad is now deeply embarrassed” because of the revelation of its agents' modus operandi and faces by Dubai police, the paper reported. A source told the Times that Mossad has “suspended similar operations in the Middle East, mainly because of fear that heightened security would put its agents at greater risk.”

Bodenheimer Passport - Real
The Federal Prosecutor's Office in Cologne, Germany, ordered an investigation on Saturday after finding out that the German passport used by one of Al-Mabhouh's alleged assassins was not forged but genuine.

According to Der Spiegel, the passport was issued in Cologne in 2009 for Michael Bodenheimer. Bodenheimer had contacted the immigration authorities in Cologne and showed evidence that his grandparents lived in Germany before World War II. Based on this information, he was given German citizenship.

However, when Der Spiegel's reporters checked out the address which appears on Bodenheimer's passport, they found nobody by that name residing there.