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Britain to expel Israeli diplomat
UK action expected over use of fake passports by assassins of Hamas operative in Dubai.
Last Modified: 23 Mar 2010 14:27 GMT
Israel said ambassador Ron Prosor had been called to Britain's foreign office on Monday [EPA]

Britain is to expel an Israeli diplomat over the use of fake UK passports by a hit-squad that killed a Hamas operative in Dubai earlier this year, officials have said.

Al Jazeera has learnt that the diplomat is likely to be Mossad's London representative, the Israeli spy agency accused by the UAE of being behind the killing Mahmoud al-Mabhouh.

David Miliband, Britain's foreign secretary, is expected to make a statement about the expulsion later on Tuesday.

Al Jazeera's Alan Fisher, reporting from London, said the move was "sign of anger from the British at the way they believe intelligence services used UK passports".

'Citizens at risk'

Our correspondent said that British investigators had discovered that the passports were cloned when UK citizens passing through Israel had their documents taken during routine security checks.

"The British believe that the intelligence agencies knew about this and used the cloned passports.

"They're not suggesting that the Mossad or the military intelligence directorate were directly involved with the assassination, what they're angry about is the cloning of the passports which they believe put British citizens at risk."

in depth
  Background: The Mossad's secret wars
  Dubai murder strains ties
  Blog: Another CIA Milan debacle?
  Video: Robert Fisk on the growing row
  Opinion: 'With friends like these ...'
  'To Israel I am stained with blood' - Al-Mabhouh speaks to Al Jazeera 10 months before his murder

Other members of the hit squad travelled on fake Irish, French and Australian travel documents, Dubai police said.

Israel has neither confirmed nor denied a role in the killing of al-Mabhouh in a hotel room on January 20, but Dubai's police chief says he is almost certain Israeli agents were involved.

Arieh Eldad, a National Union party Knesset member said news of the expulsion on Tuesday was "hypocritical" of Britain.

"It's an ugly hypocritical phenomenon to intervene in what they accept as Israel's war against terror, nobody nominated them as the judges in our war against terror.

"That's why Israel should retaliate by sending home the military attache of the British embassy in Israel," he said.

Earlier Israel had confirmed that Ron Prosor, its ambassador to Britain, was called to London's foreign office on Monday for talks.

He is said to have been briefed on the results of Britain's Serious Organised Crime Agency probe into the passport cloning, which Gordon Brown, the prime minister, had ordered in February.

Wanted list

Britain sent investigators to Israel this month to meet eight Israeli-British dual nationals whose identities were used by suspects in the killing.

Dubai authorities have identified at least 26 suspects from the alleged hit-squad that travelled to the UAE on fake identities and forged European and Australian passports.

At least 15 of the suspected killers share names with Israeli citizens, fuelling suspicions the Mossad was behind the hit.

Israel has neither confirmed nor denied involvement in al-Mabhouh's killing.

Interpol has published a wanted list of 27 people in connection with the slaying.

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
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