February 18, 2010 / 1:14 PM / 10 years ago

Factbox: Israel's Mossad intelligence agency

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Dubai police said on Thursday they were “99 percent” certain that Israel’s Mossad spy agency was behind the assassination of a Hamas commander in a Dubai hotel last month.

Israel has neither confirmed nor denied it carried out the killing, saying it maintains a policy of ambiguity with regard to its intelligence operations.

Following are facts about one of Israel’s most secretive organizations as listed by the Mossad itself on its website (mossad.gov.il):

— The Hebrew word, Mossad, means institute, and the agency’s full name is The Institute for Intelligence and Special Operations.

— In its mission statement, the Mossad says its missions include:

* Covert intelligence-gathering beyond Israel’s borders

* Preventing the development and procurement of non-conventional weapons by hostile countries

* Preventing terrorist acts against Israeli targets abroad

* Developing and maintaining special diplomatic and other covert relations

* Bringing Jews home from countries where official Aliya (Israeli immigration) agencies are not allowed to operate

* Producing strategic, political and operational intelligence

* Planning and carrying out special operations beyond Israel’s border

— The Mossad is led by Meir Dagan, a former general appointed in 2002.

— Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, authorised the establishment of the Mossad in December 1949, 19 months after the Jewish state declared independence. The agency is overseen by the Prime Minister’s Office.

— The Mossad does not list the address of its headquarters or any telephone numbers. It does not say how may people it employs. Only the identity of its director can be disclosed under Israeli law. The Mossad web site has a “Careers” section and on-line job application forms in Hebrew and English.

Writing by Jeffrey Heller, Editing by David Stamp

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