Belfast Telegraph

Israeli embassy official expelled

An official at the Israeli embassy in Dublin is being expelled over the use of fake passports in an assassination.

Irish Foreign Affairs Minister Micheal Martin said investigations had led to the inescapable conclusion that an Israeli government agency was responsible for the misuse and, most likely, the manufacture of the forged Irish passports associated with the murder of Hamas militant Mahmoud Al Mabhouh.

Top Government officials and Garda Commissioner Fachtna Murphy had led the investigation into the use of eight fake Irish passports by a Mossad unit in Dubai in January.

Mr Martin said the Government agreed at a Cabinet meeting that, by way of protest at its unacceptable action, Israel be requested to withdraw a designated member of staff of its embassy in Dublin.

"This demand has been conveyed to the Israeli ambassador and I would expect it to be quickly acceded to," he said.

Mr Martin said he will not give either the name or function of the official whom the Israeli government had been requested to withdraw.

"I want to state clearly that the official concerned is not accused or suspected of any particular wrongdoing," said Mr Martin. "In being obliged to leave their post prematurely, the official concerned is a victim of the actions of the State they represent."

The Foreign Affairs Minister condemned the murder of al Mabhouh, who founded Hamas's military wing.

Several UK and Australian travel documents were also used by the hit squad linked to the assassination. Both authorities previously ruled that the forgeries were most likely the work of a state intelligence service and that there were compelling reasons to believe that Israel was responsible for the misuse of British passports.

Mr Martin stated: "While our own investigations have discovered no additional evidence linking the Irish passports to Israel, the fact that the forged Irish passports were used by members of the same group who carried the forged British and Australian passports leads us to the inescapable conclusion that an Israeli government agency was responsible for the misuse and, most likely, the manufacture of the forged Irish passports associated with the murder of Mr Mabhouh."

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