According to a probe conducted by Tunisian daily Dounia El Watan and also reported by Lebanese Al-Manar TV, the 20 January 2010 assassination of Hamas leader Mahmoud Mabhouh in Dubai would have required a far heftier team than the one already implicated by the United Arab Emirates.

Besides the killers, a reconnoitering team led by a former Tunisian security operative, Ahmad Bannour, was also involved.

Mr. Bannour is reportedly living in exile in France where he supposedly constituted an intelligence cell acting in the mutual interest of both the Israeli and French services.

Ahmed Bannour fled from Tunisia after his spying activities on behalf of the Israeli Mossad were discovered. Taking advantage of his responsabilities within the State apparatus, he had organized the bombing of the Fatah headquarters in Tunis on 1 October 1985 - which Yasser Arafat (a.k.a. Abou Ammar) escaped - followed, on 16 April 1988, by the assassination of another Palestinian leader, Khalif Wal-Wazir (a.k.a. Abou Jihad).

Under cover of a French company controlled by him, Ahmed Bannour apparently detailed two French "businessmen" plus a team of technicians to Dubai to negotiate an elevator contract. On this occasion, the blueprints of the hotel where Mahmoud Mabhouh supposedly booked in, including the hotel security system, allegedly fell into the hands of French intelligence agents.

Furthermore, Mr. Bannour’s French company has been subpoenaed in a case currently pending with the Lebanon Military Tribunal. It serves as a cover for the admission to Beirut of Tunisian and Egyption nationals operating for the Mossad. They were planning an attack against the radio of Sheik Hussein Fadlallah and the assassination of Hezbollah Secretary-General Sayed Hassan Nasrallah.

Reply from M. Ahmed Bennour

Claiming to base yourself on an "investigation published in the
Tunisian newspaper Dounia El Watan", you make libellous statements
about me which undermine my honour and are, above all, devoid of any
foundation or even a grain of truth.

The unbridled pursuit of sensationalism does not authorize the
publication of falsehoods; it does not constitute a hallmark of
reliability and, in most cases, turns out to be deleterious due to the
serious nature of the allegations being spread.

With specific reference to your article, what evidence do you have of
any involvement on my part in the assassination of Palestinian
leaders? Where are the reports of the police investigation conducted
in Dubai after the assassination of Mr. Mahmoud Mabhouh? What is this
elevator company that I was supposed to be managing? What is
"this espionage case pending before the criminal court of Lebanon"?
Its number? The details of the case?

At best amateurish and misinformed, at worst with the intention to
harm, you have transcribed the words of mercenary journalists in the
pay of the Ben Ali regime. This cabal, which has been on my heels for
nearly 25 years, is relayed by a subservient press funded by public
money, serving a regime blacklisted by all respectable
NGOs and repudiated by Western democracies to exploit the Palestinian
conflict in order to settle scores with its political opponents.

For if you had taken the trouble to do a serious investigation, you
would have noticed that:

1) During the raid against the Palestinian headquarters on October 1, 1985 in Hammam Chatt, I was not in charge of security in Tunisia, but Ambassador in Rome since September 1984, i.e. 13 months prior to this cowardly attack, until I left the post in July 1986.

When I exercised the functions of Tunisian Minister of the Interior from April 1980 to May 1984, no Palestinians were harassed and even less murdered. And the most senior Palestinian officials, dead or alive, know better than anyone my commitment to their cause and are aware of the extent of my contribution to the noble Palestinian cause.

The head of security at the time of the Hammam Shatt attack of 1 October 1985, was Mr. Ben Ali. And this is an indisputable fact.

2) I never fled Tunisia. At the end of my assignment as ambassador to Rome in July 1986, I moved to France, where I live in voluntary exile and have been since the coup on November 7, 1987.

The assassination of Palestinian leader Abu Jihad on April 16, 1988 in Sidi Said Bous, a neighbourhood located less than 1000 meters from the Presidential Palace in Carthage, certainly benefited from Tunisian complicity (see the article the Israeli newspaper Maariv dated July 4, 1997). But the real questions that have to do with the identity of the individuals or parties who delivered the plans of Abu Jihad’s villa to the Mossad, who cut the telephone lines near the Presidential Palace, who proceeded to empty Sidi Bou Said of every living soul on the night of his assassination, following extensive police raids.

All these factors combined enabled the Mossad squad to perpetrate their cowardly assassination of Abu Jihad leader undisturbed.
Again, these are indisputable facts which contradict the most far-fetched theories and dastardly comments distilled by a corrupt dictatorship on its last legs to wash its hands of its own crimes.

According to a survey published by the aforementioned Maariv newspaper, the Mossad squad benefited from the complicity of some senior Tunisian officials at the time.

Mr Ben Ali promised to order an inquiry into the killing. To date, the current Tunisian regime has refused to release the slightest detail on the results of this "famous investigation" to either the Palestinian leadership or to Tunisian, Palestinian, Arab and international public opinion.

How could I have helped the Mossad when I had not been living in Tunisia since September 1984 and have been in voluntary exile in France since September 1986?

Finally, cooperation between the Tunisian government and the Israeli secret service exist, but it didn’t start until what is shamefully called the "new era", that is after the November 1987 coup.

During this period, an Israeli interest office was set up in Tunis. Since then, political, security, economic, trade and finance relations have continued to flourish and strengthen in the greatest secrecy and hidden from the view of public opinion, both Tunisian and Arab.

Ahmed Bennour

Former Governor of Sousse (1972-1974)

Former Minister of Defence (1974-1977)

Former Minister of the Interior (1980-1984)

Former Ambassador to Rome (1984-1986)