Hamas leader was drugged and suffocated by hit team
POLICE in Dubai said yesterday that forensic tests had shown a Palestinian Hamas commander was drugged and then suffocated in his hotel room.
As the fallout continues over the use of fake passports involving Ireland and several other countries, police said that the fast-acting muscle relaxant succinylcholine was found in Mahmoud al-Mabhouh's bloodstream.
The analysis was part of tests conducted after al-Mabhouh was killed on January 19 by a suspected Israeli hit squad of up to 26 people.
The disclosure came as it emerged Irish people may now face much more stringent entry procedures for Gulf states after the use of six fake Irish passports.
Ireland is to liaise with Britain, France and Australia -- the other countries affected by the killing mission -- to try and avoid the imposition of new entry arrangements for the United Arab Emirates and other states in the Middle East.
While Ireland is partly protected by the EU passport regime, the UAE is under pressure to take action over the assassination.
The UAE has expressed deep concern to the Irish Government over the apparent ease with which fake Irish passports were obtained by the suspected Mossad assassination team.
Foreign Affairs Minister Micheal Martin -- who visited Egypt and Gaza last week -- has expressed alarm at reports that some governments believe genuine Irish passport holders may have been involved in the assassination.
Mr Martin acknowledged that this was "very worrying" for Ireland as well as for the security of Irish citizens overseas.
The Hamas leader was killed in his Dubai hotel room and the UAE police have identified 15 suspects from CCTV security camera footage, six of whom were travelling on Irish passports.
They were all travelling on fake passports dating from before 2005 when biometric security details were added to travel documents.
The 'Irish' have been named as Gail Folliard, Evan Dennings, Kevin Daveron, Ivy Brinton, Anna Clasby and Chester Halvey.
Ireland is now awaiting the formal police report by the UAE into the killing -- but consular officials are carefully studying the genuine Irish passports whose numbers were copied in a bid to determine if there is any 'common-denominator' between them.
Irish officials want to determine if the passports on which the fakes were based were used by the genuine holders in the same country or same hotel over any specific period of time.
Ireland will cross-reference the results with the British, French and Australian authorities to see if any common links emerge.
Mr Martin said he was deeply concerned about the fall-out from the Dubai killing -- not least the potential changes in visa arrangements for Irish citizens travelling to the Gulf and Middle East.
"It is a very serious issue, not just in terms of the violation of the integrity of the entire passport system but the security of Irish citizens abroad," he said.
"Also in terms of the ease with which Irish citizens had access to the Gulf and the Middle East.
"The Gulf is now indicating that they are under pressure, along with the Emirates, over what has happened," he added.