London summons Israeli ambassador to Britain

February 17, 2010

Israel’s Ambassador to Britain, Ron Prosor, has been summoned to explain on Thursday the use of passports in the assassination of a Hamas leader in Dubai, an Israeli daily has reported.

The summoning seemed as part of the full investigation pledged on Wednesday by British Prime Minister Gordon Brown into the use of the forged passports by a hit squad that murdered Hamas commander Mahmoud Al Mabhouh on January 20.

“We are looking into this at this very moment; we have got to carry out a full investigation into this. The British passport is an important document that has got to be held with care,” Brown said in a radio interview, according to Haaretz.

Brown said the British government would seek to accumulate evidence about “what actually happened” before making any official statements on the matter.

Anticipating wider diplomatic developments involving Tel Aviv, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said also on Wednesday that there was no proof Israel’s Mossad spy agency was behind the assassination.

Lieberman shrugged off any prospect of diplomatic problems with Britain over suspicions a Mossad team had used counterfeit British passports.

“I think Britain recognizes that Israel is a responsible country and that our security activity is conducted according to very clear, cautious and responsible rules of the game. Therefore we have no cause for concern,” he said.

However, Lieberman did not deny outright Israeli involvement in the killing, saying only that Israel has a “policy of ambiguity” on intelligence matters and there was no proof it was behind the assassination.

“There is no reason to think that it was the Israeli Mossad, and not some other intelligence service or country up to some mischief,” Lieberman said when asked about the operation and the identity-theft, Haaretz reported.

Men who had the same names as seven of the 11 suspects named by Dubai police this week live in Israel, and those reached by reporters insisted their identities had been stolen and that the pictures were not a match.

Six of the men are Britons who migrated to Israel while the seventh is an American Israeli, whose name Dubai police said was on a German passport used by one of the assassins.

Britain and Ireland said they believed the British and Irish passports used by the alleged killers were forged.

Hit squads dispatched by Mossad have used foreign passports in the past, notably in 1997 when agents entered Jordan on Canadian passports in an attempt to poison Hamas leader Khaled Meshal.

In 1987, Britain protested to Israel about the misuse by Israeli authorities of forged British passports and received assurances steps had been taken to prevent future occurrences.


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About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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