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BRITAIN EXPELS ISRAELI DIPLOMAT OVER DUBAI PASSPORT ROW

By NBF News
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CCTV footage of the hit squad suspects in a Dubai hotel released in February

The UK is to expel an Israeli diplomat over the use of twelve cloned British passports in a Dubai murder, the BBC has learned.

Foreign Secretary David Miliband will make a statement to Parliament later.

Israel has said there is no proof that its agents were behind the killing of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in a Dubai hotel room in January.

Diplomatic sources stressed the British government has stopped short of accusing Israel of the murder.

However Mr Miliband had demanded that Israel co-operate fully with the investigation into how the passports were obtained.

The foreign secretary is to make the statement after Britain's Serious Organised Crime Agency found proof of the cloned passports, said BBC correspondent Jeremy Bowen.

Strong message
Diplomatic sources stressed the British government was not accusing Israel of involvement in the killing, our correspondent added.

He also said that the diplomat to be expelled would not be Israel's ambassador to London, Ron Prosor.

However the expulsion is bound to send a very strong message of Britain's displeasure at the cloning of UK passports.

Last month Mr Miliband described the use of fake UK passports as an “outrage” and vowed that the inquiry would “get to the bottom” of the affair.

Mr Mabhouh was murdered in a Dubai hotel room, police say

Twelve fake British passports were used in the murder of Mr Mabhouh – the founder of Hamas's military wing – in his hotel room in Dubai on 19 January.

Dubai officials said they are “99% certain” that agents from Israeli secret service Mossad were behind the killing but Israel has refused to confirm or deny the allegations.

Other members of the hit squad travelled on fake Irish, French and Australian travel documents, Dubai police said.

Following his death, Mr Mabhouh's family said medical teams that examined him determined he had died after receiving a massive electric shock to the head. They also found evidence that he had been strangled.

Blood samples sent to a French laboratory confirmed he was killed by electric shock, after which the body was sent to Syria, they said.

Thousands of people attended Mr Mabhouh's funeral at the Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp, on the outskirts of Damascus in January.

A Foreign Office spokeswoman said: “The Foreign Secretary will make a statement to the House of the Commons this afternoon at 1530 GMT.”