Britain was tipped off about British passports misuse: Mossad agent

February 19, 2010
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Al Bustan Rotana Hotel where Al Mabhouh was killed - Gulf News

The mystery shrouding the assassination of Hamas leader Mahmoud Al Mabhouh in Dubai last month is deepening amid new reports that Britain’s MI6 and Foreign Office had known that Israeli intelligence service Mossad would use British passports for an operation outside Israel.

The Daily Mail on Friday reported that MI6 was tipped off that Israeli agents were going to carry out an ‘overseas operation’ using fake British passports.

Quoting an unnamed Mossad source, the paper said that the Foreign Office was also told hours before a Hamas leader was killed in Dubai. However, the tip-off did not say who the target would be or where the hit squad would be in action.

The paper reported that a British security source who met the Mossad agent and who had “a track record of providing reliable information”, said that the British government “was told very, very briefly before the operation what was going to happen.”

“There was no British involvement and they didn’t know the name of the target. But they were told these people were travelling on UK passports,” the paper said  

The security source said that the tip-off was not a request for permission to use British passports but more a “courtesy call” to let the security services know “a situation might blow up.”

The Mossad member said Israeli intelligence chiefs understand British authorities would have to “slap them on the wrist” and that the “British government has to be seen to be going through the motions.”

However, a Foreign Office spokesman on Thursday evening insisted that the claim that Britain knew in advance about the passports was “not correct.”
“We received the details of the British passports a few hours before the press conference [by police in Dubai]. We were able to respond to the Dubai authorities on the authenticity of the passports the next day,” the spokesman said.

The claim that the British government had some prior knowledge of the misuse of UK passports is likely to reinforce British calls for ministers to reveal what and when they knew.

It would also fuel conspiracy theory suspicions in some countries that Britain condoned extra judicial killings.

The Daily Mail quoted Dr Fawzi Benomran, the British-trained director of the Dubai police forensic medicine department, as saying that finding the cause of 50-year-old Al Mabhouh’s death had been “the most difficult postmortem he had ever done.”

According to the paper, the killers had put his body in bed and covered it to make it appear he had died in his sleep. But Benomran and his team established that death was caused by “suffocation by smothering, most probably with a pillow.”

         

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About the author

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

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