World news

Dubai assassination was a masterclass in intelligence

By Scott Stewart, February 18, 2010

There have been enormous and dramatic changes in the use of passports and visas over the last 10 to 15 years. It is no longer so easy to counterfeit, and it is also much harder to alter such documents.

Today - ironically, in order to prevent terrorists travelling - passports and visas now have RFID chips embedded, making them much harder to forge. A lot of the lower-level kind of forgeries will diminish and in future it will only be the high-end counterfeiters who will operate.


Nazi-looted Matisse painting returned to Frankfurt

By Marcus Dysch, February 18, 2010

It travelled around Europe for a decade, passed through the hands of a senior Nazi officer and was displayed in a Paris museum for almost 60 years.

But an original Matisse painting, looted by the Nazis from a German Jewish family, has finally been returned to its rightful owner's home city.

Le Mur Rose (The Pink Wall), worth about £174,000, was handed to Frankfurt's Jewish Museum last Thursday by Magen David Adom UK, which was willed the 1898 oil canvas in a legacy. The Frankfurt municipality, the German government and a local bank shared the cost of the painting.


Fraudsters steal Holocaust victims reparations money

By Paul Berger, February 18, 2010

An organisation that distributes German reparations to Holocaust victims around the world has fired three employees following a suspected fraud estimated at more than £200,000.

The New York office of the Claims Conference called in a private law firm late last year after employees came forward with suspicions that co-workers had approved dozens of fraudulent applications.

Executive vice president Greg Schneider said he feared the Claims Conference may have discovered "100 or more" fraudulent claims, each worth €2,500 (about £2,100).


Was the Indian bomb meant for Chabad?

By Saikat Datta in Pune and Demian Smith, February 18, 2010

Security officials are not ruling out the possibility that Chabad House was the real target of the bombing in India last weekend, as it was opposite the bakery which was destroyed.

Eight people were killed and scores were injured when a bomb ripped through a popular restaurant in Pune, east of Mumbai, last Saturday evening. The German bakery was located just a few metres from the Chabad-Lubavitch centre across the street.


Dubai police: 99 per cent sure it was Mossad

By Jessica Elgot, February 18, 2010

The Dubai Police Chief has said he is almost 100 per cent certain the killing of a Hamas commander in Dubai was the work of Mossad.

Police chief Dahi Khalfan Tamim told The National newspaper in the United Arab Emirates that Israeli intelligence service Mossad were behind the murder of Hamas commander Mahmoud al-Mabhouh at a luxury hotel in the capital.

He said: "It is 99 percent, if not 100 percent, that Mossad is standing behind the murder."


Israeli ambassador called to Foreign Office over Dubai murder

By Jessica Elgot, February 18, 2010

Israel’s ambassador Ron Prosor has been invited to a meeting at the Foreign Office to discuss the killing of a Hamas leader in Dubai, where the British passports of Israeli immigrants were used to conceal the identity of some of the killers.

Both the Foreign Office and the Israeli embassy are expected to release statements later today.

A Foreign Office spokesman said the meeting was because of the “links to Israel of a number the British nationals affected.”


Brown: Investigate passports in Dubai murder

By Jessica Elgot, February 17, 2010

Gordon Brown has called for an inquiry into how British passports were used by assassins who killed a senior Hamas leader in Dubai.

At least seven of the members of the Dubai assassination team, who killed Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, had passports with the names of real people, six British and one German. Most of the “real names” were men who had made aliyah to Israel.

Prime Minister Brown said: “We have to carry out a full investigation into this. The evidence has to be assembled about what actually happened, about how it happened and why.


Man faces jail for taking Jewish daughter to church

By Jessica Elgot, February 17, 2010

A Chicago man could face jail for having his daughter baptised and taking her to a cathedral after promising his ex-wife she would be brought up as Jewish.

Catholic Joseph Reyes, 35, was charged with violating a temporary restraining order which ordered him not to expose his three-year-old daughter Ela to any other faith than Judaism. He took local television crews with him as he took his daughter to visit a cathedral.

Mr Reyes converted to Judaism to marry Rebecca, whom he later divorced, in 2004, but claimed that there was no specific agreement to raise their daughter as Jewish.


Jewish death row inmate executed

By Paul Berger, February 17, 2010

A Jewish man on death row used his final words to express remorse for a murder he committed 25 years ago.

Martin Grossman, 45, was asked if he wanted to make a final statement minutes before his execution on Tuesday.

Witnesses included relatives and friends of murdered wildlife officer Margaret Park.

“I would like to extend my heartfelt remorse to the victim’s family,” Martin Grossman said from the execution chamber of Florida State Prison.


Brit linked to Dubai Hamas killing: 'I woke up accused of murder'

By Marcus Dysch, February 16, 2010

The British man linked to the murder of Hamas military leader Mahmoud al-Mabhouh has said he is the victim of mistaken identity and is determined to clear his name.

Dubai has identified Melvyn Adam Mildiner, 31, as one of six British passport holders believed to have been involved in the death of al-Mabhouh in a luxury hotel.

At least 7 of the members of the assassination team in Dubai had passports with the names of real people, six British and one German. Most of the 'real names' were those of olim.