By John Burke
Public Affairs Correspondent
The Sunday Business Post
21 February 2010
The five Irish passport numbers that were stolen by a team of hitmen who
killed a senior Hamas figure in Dubai were all issued before 2005. Three
of the Irish citizens whose passports were faked had never been to the
The revelation indicates that the assassins had targeted passport
numbers which would not be on any travel databases in the Emirates, or
in any neighbouring state with which the UAE shared visa data.
Also, by using numbers that were issued prior to 2005, the passports
would not include security enhancements that were added to Irish
passports after that date, including biometric encryption and embedded
images of the passport holder.
It has also emerged that, in some of the cases, the gender of the bogus
hit-squad member did not correspond with the gender of the real Irish
citizen to whom the passport number belonged.
The Department of Foreign Affairs has yet to speak to all of the genuine
Irish passport holders but expects to do so in the coming days. Garda
have opened an investigation into the case, but sources said they did
not expect to travel to Dubai as part of the probe, which is primarily
being led by the department.
Senior Hamas figure Mahmoud al-Mabhouh was killed in the Emirates last
month by a suspected 18-strong gang of assassins travelling under fake
passports from Ireland, Britain, Germany and France.
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