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Wednesday, 17 February 2010

UK summons Israeli envoy

For afternoon tea and.... congratulations

Diplomats meet Israel's ambassador Thursday to discuss fake British passports used by alleged killers of a Hamas chief amid speculation its Mossad spy agency was behind the murder in Dubai.

The Israeli envoy to London was summoned to the Foreign Office Wednesday , said a government spokesman, hours after Prime Minister Gordon Brown pledged a "full investigation" of the passports affair.

In another sign of growing diplomatic tensions over the murder, Ireland also voiced concern over the use of fake Irish passports.

Speculation about who was behind the killing of Mahmud al-Mabhuh last month has centred on Israel's Mossad intelligence services, which have used agents with fake foreign passports for such operations in the past.

Related article: Mossad's forays abroad

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.

All the countries except Germany have since said their passports had been faked.

Britain had abstained from talking about a possible Israeli link but on Wednesday it announced it wanted to clarify matters with Israel.

"The defrauding of British passports is a very serious issue. The government will continue to take all the action that is necessary to protect British nationals from identity fraud," the government spokesman said.