Britain has ordered the expulsion of a senior Israeli diplomat after an investigation concluded that Israel was responsible for forging national passports, Britain’s foreign secretary said.
David Miliband, speaking Tuesday afternoon before the House of Commons, announced that “I have asked that a member of the embassy of Israel be withdrawn, and this is taking place.”
“We’ve been very clear with the Israelis about the basis upon which we were asking the individual to leave.”
Miliband said an investigation by the Serious and Organized Crime Squad found that Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency provided members of an assassination team with forged British passports in order to kill top Hamas commander Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in a hotel room in Dubai in January.
The expelled diplomat’s identity was not given, but it has been speculated by some British media outlets that it is the Mossad’s London representative.
Miliband said that he has demanded that Israel assure the British government that British citizen’s identities will not be used again in such an operation.
Some 26 members of an assassination team widely speculated to have been Mossad agents used forged passports from Britain, Ireland, Australia and Germany to enter and leave Dubai. Israel has neither confirmed nor denied its involvement in Mabhouh’s assassination.
Expulsion of a diplomat is considered a very serious measure.
Israel’s ambassador to London, Ron Prosor, was summoned Monday to the Foreign Office in London and told the results of the British inquiry into Mabhouh’s slaying. The passports of British citizens that were forged reportedly were taken away at the airport in Israel for inspections.