Israeli envoys called in over fake passports


JERUSALEM (JTA) – Israeli envoys in four countries were called in to meet with Foreign Ministry officials over the use of fake passports by a hit squad believed to be from the Mossad.

The envoys in Britain, Ireland, Germany and France were asked to provide additional information about the forged travel documents used in the assassination in Dubai last month of top Hamas commander Mahmoud al-Mabhouh.

Israel’s ambassador to Britain, Ron Prosor, met with deputy Foreign Minister Sir Peter Ricketts Thursday afternoon after being invited by the ministry to clarify why the identities of six British-Israeli citizens who reside in Israel were used on the Dubai hit squad’s forged passports.  

"Despite my willingness to cooperate with his request, I could not shed new light on the said matters," Prosor said following the meeting, Haaretz reported.

Hamas blames the Mossad, Israel’s intelligence agency, for last month’s assassination of al-Mabhouh in a hotel room in Dubai. Israel has neither confirmed nor denied its involvement. Still, the incident has threatened to cause a rift in relations between Israel and Britain.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown called for a "full investigation" into the passports incident.

In a meeting Thursday afternoon with the Irish Foreign Ministry, Israeli Ambassador to Ireland Zion Evrony was asked to provide information about the fake passports used by the alleged assassins. Evrony said he did not have any information, Ynet reported.

According to the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs, the numbers on the passports were valid but did not match the identities of the legitimate holders. Two of the three Irish citizens whose passports are implicated in the case were due to travel abroad this week and faced possible arrest over the incident, Irish Foreign Affairs Minister Micheal Martin told national broadcaster RTE.

Also Thursday, the French government summoned the charge d’affaires for the Israeli Embassy in Paris, and Germany’s Middle East envoy Andeas Michaelis asked for answers during a meeting at the Israeli Embassy with Berlin’s counselor Emmanuel Nahshon.

The passport pictures released by Dubai police do not match the faces of the Israeli residents with the same names, according to reports. The passports used to enter Dubai were from France, Ireland, Britain and Germany.

Some of the named Israelis told Israeli media outlets that they have not left the country in years, nor were their passports lost or stolen.

Arrest warrants were issued Tuesday for 11 passport holders. Another six alleged assassins have been identified in the meantime, according to reports.

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