Police investigation finds Israel forged documents used by Dubai hit squad in killing of Hamas leader
Britain expelled a senior Mossad official at the Israeli embassy today after directly accusing Israel of forging British passports used by a hit squad in Dubai.
The blunt allegation, coupled with parallel investigations by other European countries into possible transgressions by the Mossad, seemed certain to deepen Israel’s isolation at a critical moment. It coincided with a visit by Israel’s prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, to Washington aimed at soothing US anger over Jewish settlement building in Jerusalem.
David Miliband, the foreign secretary, laid out the case against Israel in parliament, saying a police investigation found “compelling reasons” to believe Israel was responsible for the copying of British passports, which were used by the killers of a Hamas leader, Mahmoud al-Mabhouh. He said the documents “were copied from genuine British passports when handed over for inspection to individuals linked to Israel, either in Israel or in other countries”.
The name of the official was not published. British officials said the diplomat had been asked to leave because of their position at the embassy and was not being accused of direct involvement in the falsification of British passports. The Guardian understands the official is a senior Mossad agent.
‘They’d handed over their passports to officials’: Julian Borger on Britain expelling Israeli diplomat over forged passports plot Link to this audio
Tonight the Foreign Office warned British travellers to try to avoid entrusting their passports to Israeli officials.
British sources said there was evidence that the 12 British victims of stolen identity had had their passports temporarily taken away either by Israeli immigration officers or other officials. Clones of those passports were subsequently used by some of the large team sent to kill Mabhouh.
“They found no link to any other country,” Miliband said. Without mentioning the Mossad by name, he added that “the government judges it is highly likely that the forgeries were made by a state intelligence service”.
Related: Guardian’s editorial on the development: Israel and Britain: The rule of law
The forging of British passports is the work of a country which believes it can act with impunity when planning the murder of its enemies