The grave of Ben Zygier, the Australian whom local media
have identified as the man who died in an Israeli prison in
2010 and who may have been recruited by Israeli
intelligence agency Mossad, is pictured at a Jewish
cemetery in Melbourne. REUTERS/Brandon Malone
A forensic report commissioned by Reuters said that a
suspect in the assassination of a Hamas commander in Dubai and
a deceased Australian immigrant, reported to have been an
Israeli spy, were not the same man.
Israel has released few details on the case of Melbourne-born
Ben Zygier, reported to have been a Mossad recruit found dead
in an isolated prison cell in Israel in 2010. The silence has
led to widespread speculation about the man's secret arrest
and alleged crime.
The Kuwaiti newspaper Al Jarida on Thursday quoted
unidentified Western sources as saying Zygier took part in
the killing by a Mossad hit-team of Hamas operative Mahmoud
al-Mahbouh in Dubai in January 2010.
Zygier is believed to have been arrested in February 2010.
In 2010 Dubai released images of 26 suspects, taken from CCTV
footage and from forged passports they were believed to have
been travelling on. Footage showed some suspects apparently
in different disguises, some of them in wigs.
Reuters commissioned a comparison of Zygier's photos and that
of one of the Dubai hit squad suspects most likely to have
been Zygier, were he to have been one of the 26 people
implicated by Dubai police and travelling under a false
identity and in disguise.
That suspect would likely have been a man who according to
Dubai police travelled with a forged Australian passport
under the name Joshua Daniel Bruce, born in Melbourne, which
is also Zygier's birthplace.
The facial comparison report by Anley Consulting Forensic
Imagery Analysis in Dorset, England, that compared Zygier's
photos with the image of the person in the forged Bruce
passport, concluded that they were not the same man.
Australia complained to Israel in 2010 after Dubai said
forged Australian passports were used by the Mossad squad.
Mabhouh's killers, authorities in the emirate said, also had
British, Irish, French and German passports.
Joshua Daniel Bruce is believed to be an alias of the man in
the forged passport's photo, which also appears on INTERPOL's
wanted list. He appears to be of the same age group as the
34-year-old Zygier was and from all 26 suspects he bears the
most resemblance to Zygier.
A second facial comparison expert contacted by Reuters said,
based only on a preliminary review of the photos, that there
were some similarities in the men's faces that could not
totally exclude the possibility of them being the same
person, but that two major discrepancies made that unlikely.
The Kuwaiti newspaper report did not single out any of the 26
Dubai hit squad suspects as being Zygier. It is possible that
others involved in Mabhouh's assassination were not caught on
camera or identified by investigators.
Israel has not confirmed or denied involvement in Mabhouh's
Media reports in Australia have said that Zygier carried out
Mossad missions abroad while using Australian passports and
travelling under different names and that he was under
Australian intelligence investigation for espionage.
Israel has neither denied nor confirmed Zygier was a Mossad
officer. It has only said that in 2010 it held a
dual-nationality Israeli in prison under a false name for
security reasons and that this man committed suicide in jail.
A lawyer who advised Zygier said he was charged with "grave
crimes" and that he denied the allegations against him.