Britain will consider severing its intelligence-sharing agreement with Israel if Mossad agents are proved to have stolen the identities of British passport holders.
Ministers are understood to be furious that an alleged hit squad which murdered a Hamas leader in Dubai last month cloned the passports of six unsuspecting Britons, who are now living in fear of reprisals. Israel, which has not denied involvement in the murder, had previously promised that Mossad, its secret intelligence service, would never use British passports to help its agents carry out covert operations.
Israel’s ambassador to the UK was summoned to the Foreign Office to give his explanation as the diplomatic row intensified.
Ron Prosor will meet Sir Peter Ricketts, the permanent under secretary at the Foreign Office, on Thursday where the ambassador is expected to be asked whether Israel played any part in assassination. Gordon Brown, making his first public comments about the incident, promised a “full investigation” into the passport forgery.
Mossad has been accused by Hamas, the Islamist group that controls Gaza, of being behind the murder of its military commander Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, who was found dead in his hotel room in Dubai on Jan 20. All of the British passport holders whose identities were stolen live in Israel, meaning Mossad would have had ready access to copies of their travel documents.
A senior Foreign Office source told The Daily Telegraph: “If the Israelis were responsible for the assassination in Dubai, they are seriously jeopardising the important intelligence-sharing arrangement that currently exists between Britain and Israel. “If it transpires that Israel has been using British passports to assassinate its opponents, the British government will need to give serious consideration to any future cooperation.
“Britain has cut ties with Mossad in the past, and will do so again if the Israelis are found to be acting against British interests.” READ MORE: UK TELEGRAPH