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Dubai Killing

Assasins caught on tape Photo: Reuters
Assasins caught on tape Photo: Reuters
 
Mahmoud al-Mabhouh. Did UK know in advance? Photo: AFP
Mahmoud al-Mabhouh. Did UK know in advance? Photo: AFP
 
 

UK paper says Mossad tipped off MI6

While Britain probes use of its passports in Mabhouh assassination, Daily Mail reports Israel informed British government that its agents were going to carry out 'overseas operation' using forged British passports. 'It wasn't a request for permission, but rather a courtesy call,' British security sources says

Ynet
Published: 02.19.10, 07:35 / Israel News

Britain in recent days has been protesting the use of fake passports belonging to its citizens in the assassination of senior Hamas figure Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai, but according to reports published in the kingdom on Friday, the British government was informed by Israel of the plan to carry out the operation and of the use of forged British passports by the assassins.

 

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The Daily Mail reported that MI6 was tipped off that Israeli agents were going to carry out an 'overseas operation' using fake British passports. The newspaper quoted a member of Mossad, the Israeli intelligence service, as saying that the Foreign Office was also told hours before the Hamas terrorist chief was assassinated in Dubai, although the tip-off did not say who the target would be or even where the hit squad would be in action.

 

A British security source, who met the Mossad agent and has a track record of providing reliable information, told the Daily Mail: "This is a serving member of Israeli intelligence. He says the British government was told very, very briefly before the operation what was going to happen.

 

"There was no British involvement and they didn't know the name of the target. But they were told these people were travelling on UK passports," he added.

 

The security source said the tip-off was not a request for permission to use British passports but more a "courtesy call" to let the security services know "a situation" might blow up. The Mossad man said Israeli intelligence chiefs understand British authorities will have to "slap them on the wrist".

 

'Make sure it won't happen again'

The Daily Mail also reported that Mabhouh was lured into a trap by Palestinian double agents last month before being smothered with a pillow. It should be noted that details about the involvement of the two Palestinians have yet to be officially delivered by the Dubai police, and in recent days there has been quite a lot of contradicting information about the two. The matter was also a source of dispute between Hamas and elements in the Palestinian Authority.

 

The reports on information received by senior British officials have evoked calls for the government to reveals what it knows, the Telegraph newspaper reported. William Hague, the shadow foreign secretary, called on the government to make a statement in parliament about when the prime minister and foreign secretary were first told of a possible British link.

 

Hague said he was “not suggesting any complicity with Israel” but suggested it was an “entirely possible scenario” that ministers were aware of a British connection at the end of January.

 

David Cameron, the Conservative leader, also called on the government to clarify the situation, adding: “At the very least, we need some assurances about the future to make sure whatever has happened in the past can’t happen again.”

 

'Most strained period in past decade'

A Guardian journalist told Ynet on Thursday night that the Kingdom has no doubt Israel was responsible for sending the assassins to Dubai, adding that the use of its passports was viewed by London as disrespect for a county which sees the Jewish state as a friend.

 

Even without the fake passports this is a serious incident, said Middle East editor Ian Black, who lived in Israel in the past. He stated that Israel would not dare do the same thing with American passports. According to Black, the recent period is the most strained in terms of the relations between the two countries in the past decade.

 

Black added that the feeling in London was that Israel had gone too far, not necessarily by carrying out the assassination but rather by using the foreign passports. This was the last straw, he said. Black said he was told by a senior source that the use of British, German and French passports was a move of disrespect on the part of Israel towards the European Union.

 

The British journalist noted that the anger in London over the passport issue was another stage in the declining relations between Israel and the kingdom, which he said began even before the affair was exposed. For example, during Deputy Foreign Minister Daniel Ayalon's latest visit to Britain, he implied that London was acting behind the scenes to prevent Israel from being upgraded in the European Union.

 

Ayalon arrived in London after being assured that he won't be arrested for war crimes. It would be interesting to see, said Black, if in light of the recent developments the British government will continue its attempts to change the law allowing the arrest of senior Israeli officials in the kingdom.

 

Israeli lecture canceled

On the backdrop of and in addition to the situation, Deputy Israeli Ambassador to Britain Talya Lador-Fresher decided to cancel an address she was scheduled to deliver at the University of Manchester. She was invited to give the lecture by one of the university's student unions.

 

The decision was made following reports that pro-Palestinian students were planning to stop the event from happening, and after the embassy's demands for appropriate security arrangements were turned down.

 

About a year ago, the student union distributed a petition calling on the university not to allow Israeli officials to take part in the institution's events. The idea was raised again recently, and according to estimates, it will be adopted in a sweeping decision in the coming days.

 

Ronnie Fraser, director of the Academic Friends of Israel in Britain, told Ynet that the cancellation of the lecture could have been expected in light of the difficult atmosphere in the kingdom. "This is a very sad day for our universities that such a lecture had to be called off due to a minority sabotaging the freedom of speech at campuses," he said.

 

Israeli lecture canceled

On the backdrop of and in addition to the situation, Deputy Israeli Ambassador to Britain Talya Lador-Fresher decided to cancel an address she was scheduled to deliver at the University of Manchester. She was invited to give the lecture by one of the university's student unions.

 

The decision was made following reports that pro-Palestinian students were planning to stop the event from happening, and after the embassy's demands for appropriate security arrangements were turned down.

 

About a year ago, the student union distributed a petition calling on the university not to allow Israeli officials to take part in the institution's events. The idea was raised again recently, and according to estimates, it will be adopted in a sweeping decision in the coming days.

 

Ronnie Fraser, director of the Academic Friends of Israel in Britain, told Ynet that the cancellation of the lecture could have been expected in light of the difficult atmosphere in the kingdom. "This is a very sad day for our universities that such a lecture had to be called off due to a minority sabotaging the freedom of speech at campuses," he said.

 

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