Canada denies arrest in Hamas killing
OTTAWA // Canada has not arrested anyone on charges related to the killing of a Hamas commander in Dubai in January but cannot rule out that someone might have been arrested and imprisoned on other charges, a senior Canadian government official said last night.
They have also determined that nobody travelling under any of the names on Interpol's international watch list in connection with the killing of Mahmoud al Mabhouh has been arrested, but concede that a suspect could have entered Canada using a different identity.
A senior Canadian government official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Canada's national police force, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), has been working hard in recent days to verify the Dubai police chief Dahi Khalfan Tamim's statement that Canada arrested a suspect this summer in connection with the high-profile killing.
Gen Tamim said he was told of the arrest by a Canadian official but complained the country's government has since refused to provide any details.
Following Gen Tamim's statement, the RCMP scoured its files and those of other police forces in Canada to investigate the claim.
The problem, said the official, is that Gen Tamim did not provide the name of the suspect nor the Canadian official who told him someone had been arrested.
Without that, trying to determine whether a suspect had been arrested was like searching for a needle in a haystack, the official said. It also made it hard to say definitively that no one had been arrested.
"The RCMP's problem is that this mystery person could be travelling in Canada with papers that say his name is Bob Jones and he could be in the Kamloops jail right this second for shoplifting and they have no idea. Nobody has anybody in custody in connection with this [Dubai)] crime. So they just don't know what to make of this."
The comments come a day after Vic Toews, the Canadian public safety minister, said in Vancouver that the RCMP had told him they had made no arrest in connection with the Dubai killing. Nor could any other law enforcement agency have made an arrest without making it public, he said.
Al Mabhouh was killed in his Dubai hotel room in January in what appeared to be a sophisticated operation involving several suspects who held passports from countries including Britain, France, Germany and Australia.
In February, Dubai Police accused Israel of engineering the killing. Israel has not responded to the allegations. In August, one suspect was detained in Poland, then handed over to Germany, which freed him on bail.
Published: October 23, 2010 04:00 AM