Britain probes fake passports

2010-02-17 17:05

London – British Prime Minister Gordon Brown pledged a "full investigation" on Wednesday into how fake British passports were linked to the killers of a Hamas chief, amid calls here for Israel to explain its role.

"We are looking at this at this very moment," he told London's LBC radio, a day after Britain said it believed six British passports held by members of an 11-member hit team which killed Mahmud al-Mabhuh were fraudulent.

"We have got to carry out a full investigation into this. The British passport is an important document that has got to be held with care," he told London's LBC Radio.

"The evidence has got to be assembled about what has actually happened and how it happened and why it happened and it is necessary for us to accumulate that evidence before we can make statements."

Mossad is facing questions over the killing of Mabhuh, a founder of Hamas's armed wing, as at least seven Israelis of dual nationality said their identities were stolen by the assassins.

Members of hit squad

Dubai's police chief this week released the photos and names of the 11 European passport holders – six from Britain, three from Ireland, one from Germany and one from France – alleged to have been members of the hit squad.

Menzies Campbell, a member of the House of Commons foreign affairs committee, said answers were needed over "speculation" about the involvement of Israel's Mossad secret service in the killing in Dubai last month.

"If the Israeli government was party to behaviour of this kind, it would be a serious violation of trust between nations," said Campbell, a former leader of Britain's third biggest party, the Liberal Democrats.

"If legitimate British passport holders were put at risk it would be a disgrace...

"Given the current speculation, the Israeli government has some explaining to do and the ambassador should be summoned to the Foreign Office to do so in double-quick time."

Full investigation


Another lawmaker, Hugo Swire of the main opposition Conservatives, also demanded a "full investigation".

"These allegations against the Israeli government need to be answered... I have no evidence one way or another. I have read all the allegations and the denials. It is an easy allegation to make," he said.

"This is not something that can just be swept under the carpet because of the bad feeling it is going to create in the Arab world.

"You cannot conduct foreign policy at this extremely sensitive time by this sort of illegal behaviour," he added.

Read more on:    gordon brown  |  mossad  |  hamas
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