Killers used 'fake Irish passports'

Tue, Feb 16, 2010, 00:00

The three alleged Irish nationals that Dubai police yesterday claimed were members of the hit team that assassinated a senior Hamas official last month do not exist, the Department of Foreign Affairs said today.

In a statement, the department said it had not found any record of Irish passports with details corresponding to those identified by the Dubai authorities.

The emirate’s police chief yesterday released photographs of the 11-member team. The alleged Irish citizens were named as Gail Folliard, Evan Dennings and Kevin Daveron.

Several Gulf newspapers published the trio’s passport numbers today. The Department of Foreign Affairs has said that the documents are obvious counterfeits as they have the wrong number of digits and contain no letters.

“We are in ongoing contact with the UAE authorities to try to ascertain the exact facts of the case. To date, we have received no evidence that any Irish nationals were involved,” the department added.

The assassination gang that killed Mahmud al-Mabhouh was comprised of six British passport holders; three Irish; and the holders of a German and a French passport, Lieut Gen Dhahi Khalfan Tamim yesterday.

“We have no doubts that it was 11 people holding these passports, and we regret that they used the travel documents of friendly countries,” he said, adding that the names on the passports had been passed on to Interpol to request arrest warrants.

“The use by assassins of forged Irish passports in the recent killing of Mahmud al-Mabhouh in Dubai is of grave concern,” Labour’s spokesman on foreign affairs, Michael D. Higgins said today.

Mr Higgins said the Irish passport was highly respected all over the world, adding that this incident could put “that trust and respect in jeopardy”.