Hit squad UK passports 'fake'

2010-02-16 20:20

London - British passports used by six members of an 11-person hit team wanted for the killing of a top Hamas militant in Dubai are believed to be fake, the Foreign Office said on Tuesday.

"We are aware that the holders of six British passports have been named in this case. We believe the passports used were fraudulent and have begun our own investigation," said a spokesperson.

"We have informed the authorities in the UAE (United Arab Emirates) that this is the case, and continue to co-operate closely with the Emiratis on this matter," he added, referring to the killing of Mahmud al-Mabhuh last month.

Dubai police chief Dahi Khalfan announced on Monday that the team thought to have killed Mabhuh was made up of six British passport holders, three with Irish passports, including a woman, and the holders of a German and a French passport.

On Tuesday, Dubai prosecutors issued an "international arrest warrant" against the 11, according to a statement.

Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, has accused Israel of killing Mabhuh, 50, who was found dead in his luxury hotel room in Dubai on January 20, and vowed revenge.