Britain expelled Israeli diplomat over fake passports used in Dubai

Israeli diplomat expelled in fake passports row

By Sam Marsden

March 23  2010

(Independent) Britain has expelled an Israeli diplomat over the use of fake UK passports by suspected Mossad agents in the assassination of a Hamas commander in Dubai, it was announced today.

Foreign Secretary David Miliband said an investigation had discovered “compelling” evidence that Tel Aviv’s secret service was responsible for cloning the ID documents.

He told MPs it was “intolerable” for a foreign country to behave in such a way, and the fact that Israel was a close ally added “insult to injury”.

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

“Taking this together with other inquiries, and the link with Israel established by Soca (the Serious and Organised Crime Agency), we have concluded that there are compelling reasons to believe that Israel was responsible for the misuse of the British passports.

“The Government takes this matter extremely seriously. Such misuse of British passports is intolerable.”

He added: “I have asked that a member of the embassy of Israel be withdrawn, and this is taking place.”

Mr Miliband said the misuse of passports presented a “hazard for the safety of British nationals in the region”.

“It also represents a profound disregard for the sovereignty of the United Kingdom,” he said. “The fact that this was done by a country which is a friend, with significant diplomatic, cultural, business and personal ties to the UK, only adds insult to injury.

“No country or government could stand by in such a situation.”

Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, the founder of Hamas’s military wing, was assassinated in his luxury hotel room in Dubai on January 19 by a team of killers wearing fake beards, wigs and other disguises.

Dubai officials said they were “99% certain” that Mossad agents were behind the murder but Israel has refused to confirm or deny the link.

At the time Mr Miliband branded the abuse of British passports “outrageous” and demanded that Tel Aviv co-operate fully with the UK’s investigation.

Israel’s ambassador to London, Ron Prosor, was summoned to the Foreign Office last month to discuss the situation, but he flatly denied there was any “additional information” to give.

Investigators from Britain’s Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca) looked into the use of cloned passports of innocent British citizens in the attack.

Mr Miliband said 11 of the 12 had now been given biometric passports which would be harder to counterfeit.

He also said the Foreign Office’s travel advice for Israel would be amended to highlight the risk of papers being cloned, and how it can be minimised.

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

Gordon Brown’s spokesman told reporters: “The Prime Minister was consulted on this decision and supports it.”

The spokesman said the diplomat had technically been “asked to withdraw” from the UK, rather than expelled, and was being given two weeks to leave the country.

Mr Miliband met Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman yesterday and handed him a letter seeking formal assurance that in future Israel will never be party to the misuse of British passports, said the spokesman.

Also yesterday, the head of the UK diplomatic service, Sir Peter Ricketts, met Israeli Ambassador to London Ron Prosor.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/israeli-diplomat-expelled-in-fake-passports-row-1925653.html

UK expels Israeli diplomat over Dubai passports

By Adrian Croft

March 23 2010
LONDON (Reuters) – Britain said on Tuesday it was expelling an Israeli diplomat from London after concluding that Israel had forged British passports used by the suspected killers of a Hamas commander in Dubai.”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.

Miliband said there were “compelling reasons” to believe Israel was responsible for the misuse of British passports in the case and said he had sought assurances from Israel that it would not misuse them again.

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

Israel has neither confirmed nor denied a role in the January killing of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, a military commander from the Palestinian organization Hamas, in a Dubai hotel room.

Dubai authorities have given names for 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.

“COMPELLING REASONS”

After an investigation by a specialized police unit, Miliband said Britain had concluded “there are compelling reasons to believe Israel was responsible for the misuse” of the 12 British passports involved.

“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 did not accuse Israel of being responsible for the killing.

Israeli Ambassador to London Ron Prosor said he was disappointed by the British decision.

“It is our clear intention to strengthen the firm foundation of our relationship which is both vital and beneficiary to both our countries,” he told reporters.

Britain expelled an Israeli diplomat in 1988 in an espionage row. The man, Arie Regev, was described at the time by informed British sources as a Mossad agent.

Relations between Britain and Israel have been strained recently by a number of issues, including the threat of arrest for alleged war crimes faced by senior Israeli officials visiting Britain.

The latest spat comes at a time of friction between Israel and its key ally, the United States, since Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition government announced plans to build 1,600 homes for Jews near East Jerusalem.

(Additional reporting by Estelle Shirbon, Kylie Maclellan, Keith Weir and Tim Castle in London and Ori Lewis in Jerusalem; Editing by Ralph Boulton)

Source

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Published in: on March 23, 2010 at 7:32 pm  Comments Off on Britain expelled Israeli diplomat over fake passports used in Dubai  
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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu authorized assassination of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh

Update February 25 2010: Apparently there were also a few more people involved. Some used Australian passports.

Mounting diplomatic fury over the killing of a top Hamas commander in a Dubai hotel reached Australia on Thursday, with Israel’s ambassador summoned over the use of Australian passports by a suspected assassination squad.

Dubai authorities have now identified 26 people suspected of involvement in the killing of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, with three using forged Australian passports named among 15 new suspects, most of them Europeans.

“Any state that has been complicit in use or abuse of the Australian passport system, let alone for the conduct of an assassination, is treating Australia with contempt and there will therefore be action by the Australian government in response,” said Australia’s Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, without elaborating.

Source

Now they are looking at 26 perpetrators as opposed the the 11 previous suspects. Concern over fake passport use should be  in the forefront as Mossad has a long history of such use of passports.

Finally some are now becoming aware of  forged or stolen document use. I just have to wonder what took everyone so long to finally do something about it? This has been ongoing for years.

Newest suspects

Photo from Press TV

Report: PM approved Dubai assassination in early January

February 23 2010

By Yossi Melman, Ofer Aderet, Liel Kyzer, Barak Ravid and Avi Issacharoff

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu authorized in early January the assassination of Hamas commander Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, according to a report published in the Sunday Times.

Based on information obtained from “sources with knowledge of Mossad,” the paper reported that Netanyahu gave Mossad chief Meir Dagan the green light for the Dubai operation during a meeting at the Midrasha – the intelligence agency’s headquarters, in the northern suburbs of Tel Aviv.

The sources also said that the Mossad hit squad trained for the Dubai mission by secretly rehearsing in a Tel Aviv hotel.

Netanyahu reportedly told the Mossad agents, “The people of Israel count on you. Good luck.”

Meanwhile, Dubai police chief Dahi Khalfan Tamim said that an internal Hamas source leaked information to Mabhouh’s assassins that led to his killing, Israel Radio reported.

Speaking to Persian newspaper Gulf News, Tamim said that the aide, whose identity was not revealed, was the only person who knew about Mabhouh’s visit to the emirate.

Meanwhile, Hamas on Saturday again blamed Israel again for the hit. At a press conference, Salah al-Bardawil, one of the group’s Gaza-based leaders, said he does not suspect that the Palestinian Authority was involved in the killing and that the entire affair was the responsibility of Mossad.

However, the Hamas official said the two Palestinians arrested in Dubai in connection with the killing are former officers in the Palestinian security services, and were employed by a firm owned by a senior member of rival Fatah.

The London-based newspaper Al-Hayat reported that this company is owned by Mohammed Dahlan, formerly a Fatah strongman in the Gaza Strip before its takeover by Hamas two and a half years ago.

Bardawil also said that Mabhouh had put himself at risk by booking his trip through the Internet and risked a security breach by telling his family in Gaza by telephone which hotel he would be staying at.

Also Saturday, the daily newspaper Al-Bayan reported that Dubai police had new evidence implicating the Mossad in Mabhouh’s assassination, which included credit-card payments and suspects’ phone records.

“Dubai police have information confirming that the suspects purchased travel tickets from companies in other countries with credit cards carrying the same names we have publicized [from the passports],” Al-Bayan quoted Dubai police chief Tamim as saying.

Source

Related

Police in Dubai said that some of the assassins involved in last month’s killing of a Hamas commander had entered the emirate carrying diplomatic passports.

Dubai Suspects Are Interpol’s Most Wanted
International Police Issues Red Notices for 11 Alleged Assassins; Dubai Authorities Finger Israel’s Mossad Spy Agency

February 18, 2010

Interpole Website showing 11 suspects wanted by Dubai Police in connection with murder of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh

Interpol has put 11 people suspected in the slaying of a Hamas militant leader in Dubai on its most-wanted list as Dubai police stepped up their accusations against Israel’s Mossad spy agency for the murder.

The international police agency said it has issued red notices, its highest-level alert, to its member countries worldwide for “11 internationally wanted individuals who have been charged by UAE-Dubai authorities with coordinating and committing the murder.”

Interpol says it was acting on the request of Dubai authorities and that it believes the suspects used false passports.

Interpol issued the notices – which include photographs – “to limit the ability of accused murderers from traveling freely using the same false passports.”

Hamas commander Mahmoud al-Mabhouh’s body was found Jan. 20 in his hotel room.

Meanwhile, Dubai Police Lt. Gen. Dahi Khalfan Tamim was quoted as saying he was “99 percent, if not 100 percent” certain that Mossad was behind last month’s slaying of al-Mabhouh in a luxury hotel room in Dubai.

Israel insists there is no evidence that Mossad agents were involved.

The comments – which appeared on the Web site of UAE daily The National – came as international pressure mounted for Israel to answer questions about possible links to the killing.

The investigation also widened to the United States. Emirates authorities said the alleged killers used fraudulent passports to open credit cards accounts through U.S.-based banks, an official said.

“Our investigations reveal that Mossad is involved in the murder of al-Mabhouh,” Tamim was quoted as saying by The National, which is owned by the government of Abu Dhabi.

He told another local paper, Dubai-based Gulf News, that: “All elements strongly indicate the involvement of the Mossad.”

Tamim and other Dubai police officials could not be immediately reached for further comment. Israel government spokesman Mark Regev also had no comment.

The international fallout from the murder in a Dubai hotel room showed no signs of easing, with Britain and Ireland summoning Israeli ambassadors Thursday for talks about the case following allegations that European passports were used by the alleged team of assassins.

A UAE official, who has close knowledge of the investigation, said at least 18 people – including two women – are now suspected in what Dubai police describe as a highly coordinated operation to kill al-Mabhouh, one of the founders of Hamas’ military wing.

Ten of the men and one woman were identified by Dubai police Monday as members of the group that traveled to Dubai on apparently fraudulent passports – six from Britain, three from Ireland and one each from Germany and France.

Britain has said it will investigate how some of the suspects came to have British passports – and how they might have been produced.

British Foreign Secretary David Miliband said one of the nation’s top diplomats, Peter Ricketts, “explained the concern we have for British passport holders in Israel” during the meeting with Israeli Ambassador Ron Prosor.

“He made clear that we wanted to give Israel every opportunity to share with us what it knows about this incident, and we hope and expect that they will cooperate fully with the investigation,” he said, adding he would raise the issue with Israel’s foreign minister when they meet in Brussels in the coming days.

Prosor told journalists he was not able to add additional information to Britain’s request.

Israel’s ambassador to Ireland, Zion Evrony, said he had nothing useful to tell Ireland because he knew nothing confidential about the Dubai assassination.

Irish Foreign Minister Micheal Martin has said the three Irish passports did have valid numbers but were issued to people with different names than those made public by Dubai.

He said the Foreign Ministry had contacted two people with the same passport numbers and found they had not lost their passports or had any stolen. The assassins apparently had access to pre-2005 passports that lacked biometric information, Martin said.

Also linked to the slaying are two Palestinians in Dubai custody and five others, including one woman who was caught on video surveillance at the luxury hotel where al-Mabhouh’s body was found Jan. 20, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity in line with standing policies.

Source


Alleged Assassins Caught on Dubai Surveillance Tape

February 17 2010

Dubai authorities have released extensive footage from surveillance cameras that allegedly shows the movements of a professional 11-person assassination team in the hours before and after a top Hamas leader was killed last month in a hotel room.

February 2 2010 Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, 49, a military official of the Islamic Resistance Movement, was found dead in his Dubai hotel room late last month. While the death appeared to be from natural causes, an autopsy revealed Mr. al-Mabhouh was killed, apparently by suffocation with a pillow after receiving electric shocks, perhaps from a taser.

Hamas has accused Israel of carrying out the killing, and Dubai police chief Dhahi Khalfan said that Mossad, Israel’s infamous spy and dirty tricks agency, was one suspect.

“I don’t exclude any party that has an interest in the assassination,” Mr. Khalfan said. “There were seven or more people holding passports from different European countries” in the group suspected of killing Mr. al-Mabhouh, he said.

This is not  a new phenomenon as this has been done many times, among other assassinations and terrorist acts by Israel.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also  authorized the assassination of Khalid Mishal in 1997.

Mishal came to power largely as the result of a botched assassination attempt by seven Mossad agents in September 1997. Mossad used Canadian passports, some forged and some stolen from a Canadian embassy.

Update February 26 2010

UK police meet passport victims connected to assassination of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh