An alleged Mossad spy from Israel wanted in connection with the hit-squad slaying of a Hamas agent in Dubai has been arrested in Poland, officials said Saturday. The man, using the name Uri Brodsky, is suspected of working for Mossad in Germany and helping to issue a fake German passport to a member of the Mossad operation that allegedly killed Hamas agent Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai in January, a spokesman for the German federal prosecutor’s office told The Associated Press.
Brodsky was arrested in early June upon his arrival in Poland because of a European arrest warrant issued by Germany which is now seeking his extradition, the spokesman said, declining to be named in line with department policy. The spokesman had no estimate of how long it could take for Brodsky to be extradited from Poland to Germany, saying “the matter is now in the hands of the Polish authorities.” If Brodsky agrees, the extradition could take a few days, but that isn’t likely, the spokesman said.
While Israeli authorities refuse to comment about the matter, on Sunday two Israeli ministers demanded that Brodsky be repatriated directly to Israel. Ha’aretz speculated that German prosecutors leaked the story. It also wonders whether the incident means that Israel will lose yet another ally as a consequence of the Dubai assassination.
As things now stand, Brodsky faces only the charge of procuring a fraudulent passport in Germany—a fairly straightforward charge that can be grounded on the basis of his possession of a false passport. There appear to be no plans at present to extradite him to Dubai. But the investigation in the UAE is proceeding, and now Dubai authorities will be able to take their time in developing a case against him.
The arrest points to another fact: the killing of Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Mabhouh may well be viewed by Israeli authorities as a measure against a terrorist justified by national-security considerations, but in the eyes of much of the world it was simply a murder. The case recalls the 1973 Mossad operation that led to the death of a Moroccan waiter in Lillehammer, Norway. Mossad apparently believed that the victim was a terrorist operative, but it turned out to be a case of mistaken identity. In the view of the Norwegian authorities, it was simply a murder—five Mossad agents were arrested, convicted, and wound up doing prison time in Norway. Brodsky could be facing a similar fate. This case merits careful study by all national-security experts who advocate an agenda of targeted killings; it shows the risks that such a program necessarily entails.