Tags: Hamas | hit | Australia | hit

Australia Expels Israeli Envoy on Hamas Hit

Monday, 24 May 2010 09:18 AM

Australia on Monday said it was expelling an Israeli diplomat over fake passports used in the assassination of a top Hamas operative in the United Arab Emirates.

Foreign Minister Stephen Smith said an investigation had confirmed that Israeli agents were behind the forgery of Australian passports used in the January 20 killing of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, a founding member of Hamas' military wing.

The four Australians identified on the passports had nothing to do with the killing, he said.

Smith did not name the diplomat Australia wants expelled from the Israeli mission in Canberra, but said the diplomat has to leave within the week. He briefed parliament on the results of the investigation Monday morning and said the forgeries were so sophisticated, only a state intelligence service could have carried them out.

"We regret the Australian decision, which is is not in line with the quality and the importance of our relationship," said Yigal Palmor, a spokesman for the Israeli Foreign Ministry.

Smith said the decision to call for the expulsion was made after consultation with the British, American and United Arab Emirates foreign ministries. The forgeries, he said, "are not the actions of a friend."

"Australia's relationship with Israel has always been founded on a basis of mutual respect and trust. But Israel's actions in this regard have undermined that respect and trust," Smith said, addressing lawmakers. "Mr. Speaker, the government takes this step much more in sorrow than in anger or retaliation. It is a decision taken in our national security interests."

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Australia on Monday said it was expelling an Israeli diplomat over fake passports used in the assassination of a top Hamas operative in the United Arab Emirates.
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2010-18-24
Monday, 24 May 2010 09:18 AM
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