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Dubai's top cop denies meeting Israeli police official

world Updated: Nov 17, 2010 18:53 IST

Dubai police chief Dahi Khalfan, who has said Israeli agents assassinated a Hamas commander while in the emirate, on Wednesday denied a press report he met a top Israeli police official in Qatar.

"I categorically deny the report," Khalfan told AFP.

He was referring to a report in the Israeli daily Yediot Aharonot that he had met Israel's police investigations and intelligence branch chief, Major General Yoav Segalovich, at the Interpol general assembly in Doha.

"I did not even attend the Interpol meeting," Khalfan said.

The Aharonot on Monday quoted an unidentified Israeli police source as saying that "they were introduced, they shook hands and greeted one another," referring to Khalfan and Segalovich.

The source said the exchange between the two men at the November 8-11 conference was relaxed and there was no apparent tension, despite the disputes between their countries and lack of diplomatic ties.

For his part, Israel's police spokesman, contacted by AFP, could not immediately confirm or deny the report.

In September, Khalfan said he had received death threats from Israel's Mossad intelligence agency, linked to his role in uncovering details of the murder of Hamas militant Mahmud al-Mabhuh in a Dubai hotel last January.

Mabhuh, a founder of the military wing of the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas, was found dead in his Al-Bustan Rotana hotel room near Dubai airport. He was wanted in Israel for the alleged murder of two Israelis.

He had been drugged and asphyxiated, apparently by a group of people seen on hotel closed-circuit security cameras following him to his room.

Twelve British, six Irish, four French, three Australian and one German passports were used by the 26 people believed linked to the murder, according to Dubai police.

In many cases, the travel documents appeared either to have been faked, cloned or obtained illegally. The countries whose passports were used all called in Israeli envoys for talks.

Britain announced last March it was expelling one Israeli diplomat while Australia announced in May that it was throwing out an official from the Israeli embassy.

Israel has said there is no evidence linking it or the Mossad to the Dubai assassination of Mabhuh.