Family of Hamas figure seeks to block movie

FILE - In this May 1, 2012 file photo, Israeli model Bar Refaeli plays a seductress with actor Tomer Sisley on a set of a film made about the assassination of Hamas operative Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, in Eilat, southern Israel. The family of al- Mabhouh says it wants to block the release of a movie being made about his 2010 assassination in a Dubai hotel. The killing of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh was widely blamed on Israel's Mossad spy agency. (AP Photo/Dan Balilty, Files)

Relatives of a slain Hamas operative are seeking 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 defence 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 lawsuit, including where to file it, are still being worked out, he said.

The movie's producer, Micha Scharfstein, said the movie takes artistic licence 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.