UK in Israel passport probe

2010-02-18 19:09

London - Britain expects Israel to co-operate fully with an investigation into the use of fraudulent European passports by the suspected killers of a Hamas chief, Foreign Secretary David Miliband said on Thursday.

Speaking after Israel's ambassador was called into the Foreign Office in London, Miliband said the envoy was told that "we wanted to give Israel every opportunity to share with us what it knows about this incident".

"We hope and expect that they will co-operate fully with the investigation" launched by the British in co-ordination with authorities in Dubai, where Hamas commander Mahmud al-Mabhuh was killed last month, he said.

"We want to get to the bottom of the issue of the fraudulent passports, or their potential use," Miliband added, after Israeli envoy Ron Prosor held talks with Peter Ricketts, the head of Britain's diplomatic service.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown vowed Wednesday there would be a "full investigation" into the use of six fake British passports in the Hamas chief killing, widely suspected of being the work of Israel's Mossad spy agency.

"There's obviously been a very serious incident involving British passports, it's also involved a number of British passport holders who have woken up yesterday morning extremely worried," said Miliband.

"We think it's right to have the full investigation," he added, saying that Britain was not "going through the motions" by calling in the Israeli ambassador and seeking co-operation.


"That is the rightful business of government when it comes to dealing with serious issues and working with close allies," he said.

He added that the six British passports involved did not have new micro-chip technology "which would make it much more difficult for them to be abused".

"But obviously we need to make sure that the British passport remains something that everyone has confidence in, and countries round the world have confidence in as well," he said.