Australian FM warns Israel over identity fraud

13:13, February 25, 2010      

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Foreign Minister Stephen Smith warned Israel on Thursday that its relationship with Australia could be damaged if evidence is found that it was involved in forging Australian passports.

An Australian Federal Police (AFP) investigation has begun after Dubai authorities revealed that three suspects thought to be involved in the assassination of Hamas commander Mahmoud al- Mabhouh travelled to the emirate on Australian passports.

Dubai police said the killing was almost certainly an Israeli hit and three suspected members of the assassination squad were travelling on Australian passports under the names of Adam Marcus Korman, Joshua Daniel Bruce and Nicole Sandra McCabe.

Smith told Parliament that preliminary investigations suggested the three Australians, who all live in Israel, were the victims of identity fraud.

Israel's ambassador to Australia Yuval Rotem was summoned to Parliament House in Canberra on Thursday for a brief meeting with Smith.

"I've made it crystal clear to the ambassador that if the results of that investigation cause us to come to the conclusion that the abuse of Australian passports was in any way sponsored or condoned by Israeli officials, then Australia would not regard that as the act of a friend," Smith said.

Smith also told Rotem that the Australian government expects full cooperation from Israeli officials.

"I also indicated to him that if we didn't receive that cooperation then we would potentially draw adverse conclusions from that," he said.

Source: Xinhua
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