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Australia expels Israeli diplomat

24 May 2010 3:08

The federal government of Australia says it has ordered the expulsion of an Israeli diplomat over fraudulent use of Australian passports by Israel to assassinate a Hamas official.

Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith said on Monday that investigations had led to concrete evidence that Israeli intelligence services were behind the forgery of four Australian passports used in the murder of senior Hamas commander Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai back in January.

“These investigations and advice have left the government in no doubt that Israel was responsible for the abuse and counterfeiting of these passports,” Reuters quoted Smith as telling the country’s parliament.

“No government can tolerate the abuse of its passports,” he added, explaining further that this is not what Canberra expects from Tel Aviv with which it has had “such a close, friendly and supportive relationship.”

The Australian foreign minister said the government had asked that “a member of Israel’s Australian embassy in Canberra be withdrawn within a week” without disclosing the individual’s identity.

Al-Mabhouh was killed on January 19 in a hotel room by a hit squad of at least 11 people carrying forged international passport, Dubai authorities have indicated.

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