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Did Netanyahu authorize killing of Hamas commander in Dubai?

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Ronen Zvulun/Reuters

(Read caption) Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends a special cabinet meeting in Tel Hai near the northern Israeli town of Kiryat Shmona Sunday.

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu may have authorized Mossad agents to assassinate Hamas commander Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai in January, according to a report in the British paper the Sunday Times.

While there has been much speculation that Israel’s spy agency carried out the hit, so far Israeli government officials have not confirmed their country’s involvement in the assassination.

If Israel is officially held responsible for the operation, it could further inflame tensions both in and outside Israel, as there are increasing questions about whether Israel overstepped its bounds with this operation

Upon hearing the details of the proposed operation during a meeting with Mossad chief Meir Dagan and members of the alleged hit squad, Mr. Netanyahu approved the assassination, reports the Sunday Times, citing unnamed sources it says have knowledge of the Mossad.

Mossad is now deeply embarrassed. Its use of the identities of British, French, German, and Irish nationals as cover for agents to carry out the hit has angered western governments. In the ensuing diplomatic fall-out, sources close to Mossad said yesterday that it had suspended similar operations in the Middle East, mainly because of fear that heightened security would put its agents at greater risk. Dagan’s job is also on the line.

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