GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip - Relatives of a slain Hamas operative seek to block the release of a movie being made in Israel about his 2010 assassination in a Dubai luxury hotel, a family member said Sunday.
The killing of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh was widely blamed on Israel's Mossad spy agency, which never confirmed or denied involvement. Israeli defense officials have alleged that he played a role in smuggling weapons from Iran to the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.
The movie, which features Israeli supermodel Bar Refaeli as a temptress working for the hit team, is a "Zionist conspiracy" to defame al-Mabhouh, said a cousin, Ahmed, who lives in Gaza. Details of the suit, including where to file it, are still being worked out, he said.
The movie's producer, Micha Scharfstein, said the movie takes artistic license and is not meant to be factual.
"Mabhouh, from our point of view, was a murderer with blood on his hands, and I don't see any reason not to do a movie about it," he said. The French-Israeli co-production "Kidron," Hebrew for "spear," is to be released in about half a year, he said.
Al-Mabhouh was killed Jan. 19, 2010 in a Dubai hotel room.
As part of the investigation, Dubai police released hotel camera footage showing the assassination team, wearing disguises, tracking its target. Authorities have said al-Mabhouh was apparently injected with a muscle relaxant and suffocated with a pillow.
Parts of the movie are now being filmed in the Israeli Red Sea resort of Eilat. In a movie plot twist, a gang of criminals murders al-Mabhouh in an attempt to frame the Mossad.
In one scene, Refaeli catches al-Mabhouh's eye by the hotel bar. He takes the bait, orders a drink, they have a chat and then leave together, the hotel surveillance cameras filming them as they go.
Hamas is an Islamic fundamentalist organization. Its members are not supposed to drink alcohol or take up with women who are not their wives.
Ahmed al-Mabhouh said the family learned about the movie from the media and hopes to prevent its release. "We consider this movie ... a distortion of our late martyr and reject the Zionist conspiracy against him after his death which everyone knows is a lie," he said.