March 1, 2010 -- Dubai Police investigators said Sunday they now know exactly how senior Hamas commander Mahmoud al Mabhouh was killed in his Dubai hotel room. According to them, he was drugged and then suffocated with a pillow.
Deputy Police Chief Khamis al Mazeira revealed the results of forensic tests on al Mabhouh's body, which was found to contain high levels of a muscle relaxant drug called Succinylcholine.
The drug is usually used as an anesthetic by doctors, and is given to patients before they are connected to life-support machines and other complex medical equipment.
"The assassins used this method so that it would seem that his death was natural as there were no signs of resistance shown by the victim." Al Mazeira said.
It is not clear how his assassins administered the drug, but it would have acted fast, making him incapable of resisting his killers as they began to suffocate him with his own pillow.
Dubai Police say they are now certain Israel's spy agency Mossad was behind the killing of Mabhouh on January 20th. Mabhouh was allegedly in Dubai to arrange an arms shipment to Hamas in Gaza. He had previously admitted kidnapping and killing two Israeli soldiers in the 1980s.
But Israeli officials still refuse to confirm or deny responsibility for his death.
On Sunday Israeli cabinet minister Benjamin Ben Eliezer appeared to issue a threat against other Hamas leaders while talking on Israel Radio. "None of their people are untouchable, they can all be reached," he said.
In Tel Aviv a former deputy director of Mossad, Ilan Mizrahi, told the Times of London, "Mossad has been restored to its glory days."
Dubai police have now named 26 suspects in the plot to kill Mabhouh. They have published photocopies of the false passports they were travelling on and security camera video of the suspects tracking their victim in his hotel.
The use of foreign passports from Britain, Ireland, Australia, France and Germany has caused diplomatic fallout for Israel.
All countries involved have expressed anger at the misuse of their passports and have demanded explanations from the Israeli authorities.
Dubai Chief of Police Dahi Khalfan Tamim is even demanding the arrest of senior Israeli officials.
"If it emerges that the Mossad carried out this assassination then Prime Minister Netanyahu and Mossad chief Meir Dagan will be at the top of the most wanted list," he said.
While some Israeli officials may be embarrassed by the unwanted publicity, most of the Israeli public has been thrilled by every new detail.
The tactic of targeting known enemies of Israel on foreign soil receives widespread public support.Mossad's website has seen a recent surge in hits from young Israelis keen to find out more about a career with the agency, otherwise known as The Institute for Intelligence and Special Operations.
There are even reports of a rush to buy the geeky glasses worn by some of the suspected hit men.On Sunday senior cabinet minister Benjamin Ben Eliezer said he didn't know who carried out the killing, but that what was important was the result. Most Israelis appear to agree with him.