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UK wants a passports pledge from Israel after Mossad chief is expelled

The Israeli government will not be allowed to replace the senior Mossad station chief expelled from London over the cloning of British passports allegedly used in the assassination of a Hamas commander — unless it offers a public assurance that UK citizens' documents will never be used again for clandestine operations.

The Foreign Secretary David Miliband wants his Israeli counterpart, Avigdor Lieberman, to make the pledge. British diplomatic officials are insisting the situation is not negotiable.

Israeli media outlets have claimed that another operative would be sent soon to take the place of the Mossad official working at the Israeli embassy in London, who was asked to leave after a UK investigation concluded that there was evidence that British passports used by an assassination squad were cloned by Israel.

An Israeli hit team used the British and other countries' passports to travel to Dubai to murder the Hamas commander Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, it has been claimed.

A British inquiry established that the documents were cloned at Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion airport and Israeli officials made surreptitious calls to check the travel plans of those whose identities had been stolen.

The Israeli government has shown no signs so far that it will agree to Mr Miliband's demand.

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