Australia's intelligence agencies have taken over the investigation into the use of fake passports
by the assassins of senior Hamas
figure Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai following the completion of a police investigation into the matter, ABC News reported Sunday.
According to the report, the Australian government received the federal police report and Foreign Affairs Minister Stephen Smith told Channel Nine he needed more information.
"There's no point being coy about that further work is required, further consideration is required," he said.
"It's quite clear from a preliminary assessment of that report that I need to get further advice and see further work and have further discussion with other agencies," Smith added. "When that's done, he said, "I'll let the Government's decision about these matters be known publicly."
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the foreign minister denied that the investigation was taking too long. "I want to make sure we get this right," he said.
Smith said in the past that his country's investigators had received the findings of a British investigation into the affair. Last month, the United Kingdom expelled
the Israeli Mossad agent over the forged passports.
"Suffice to say we are treating this matter very seriously. Israel understands that and when I receive the (Australian) report, we'll make judgments which will be in Australia's national interest," the foreign minister said
at the time, stressing that there was no evidence that any of the four Australian citizens living in Israel whose identities were stolen were implicated.
The Australian investigation ran into unexpected difficulties shortly after it began. Members of the Australian police force were allegedly involved in a hit-and-run accident
with a cyclist in Tel Aviv just hours after landing Israel to probe the affair. The young woman involved in the accident told Ynet she would demand that the Australian Embassy acknowledge the fact that Australian officials hit her and escaped.