Britain expels Israeli diplomat over murder passports - UPDATE 2

Britain says it expelled an Israeli diplomat over the use of cloned UK passports by a hit-squad that killed a Hamas commander in the United Arab Emirates.

Britain expels Israeli diplomat over murder passports - UPDATE 2

Britain says it on Tuesday expelled an Israeli diplomat over the use of cloned UK passports by a hit-squad that killed a Hamas commander in the United Arab Emirates.

"I've asked that a member of the Embassy of Israel be withdrawn from the UK as a result of this affair and this is taking place," Foreign Secretary David Miliband told parliament.

Dubai authorities have named 27 alleged members of the team that tracked and killed the Palestinian, and said they used fraudulent British, Irish, French, German and Australian passports to enter and depart from Dubai.

Dubai's police chief says he is almost certain Israeli agents were involved and has accused the intelligence agency Mossad of insulting Dubai.

Miliband said there were "compelling reasons" to believe Israel was responsible for forging the 12 British passports used."

"Such misuse of British passports is intolerable ... It also represents a profound disregard for the sovereignty of the United Kingdom," he said.

"We attribute great importance to relations with Britain," Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said in a statement.

"We have received no evidence pointing to Israeli involvement in the matter (Mabhouh's assassination)," he said.

But, an Israeli official said there would be no tit-for-tat reaction by Israel. "There will be no retaliatory measures by Israel and no British diplomats will be expelled," said the official, who declined to be named.

Miliband said a British police investigation concluded that the fake passports were copied from genuine British passports when these were handed over for inspection to individuals linked to Israel, either in Israel or elsewhere.

"Given that this was a very sophisticated operation in which high-quality forgeries were made, the government judges it is highly likely the forgeries were made by a state intelligence service," he said.

Miliband declined to identify the Israeli diplomat who would leave or his rank but told Sky News: "He was chosen by us and it was based on the investigations that we have undertaken."

Britain amended its travel advice for Israel, recommending British visitors only give their passports to other people, including Israeli officials, "when absolutely necessary".

In the Gaza Strip, a spokesman for the Islamist movement Hamas said the expulsion proved that Britain holds Israel responsible for the Dubai assassination.

"Britain's decision to expel the Israeli diplomat is, in addition to previously uncovered proof, clear evidence of the involvement of the Israeli occupation in the assassination of martyr Mahmoud al-Mabhouh," said Sami Abu Zuhr.

Britain expelled an Israeli diplomat in 1988 in a spying row. The man, Arie Regev, was described at the time by informed British sources as an agent for Israel's Mossad secret service.


Agencies

Güncelleme Tarihi: 24 Mart 2010, 11:07

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Israel is a terrorist state, wipe out the zionism.