Britain denies foreknowledge of Dubai assassination

08:14, February 21, 2010      

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Palestinian mourners attend the funeral of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, one of the founders of the Islamic movement's armed wing known as Izzedein al-Qassam Brigades, in Damascus, Syria, Jan. 29, 2010. Hamas vowed on Friday to retaliate the assassination of its top military commander Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai after it blamed Israel for his death. (Xinhua/Bassem Mohamad)


The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) Saturday denied it knew that an assassination of a leading figure in the Palestinian political organization Hamas was planned in the Gulf state of Dubai before the assassination took place.

An FCO spokeswoman told Xinhua that "Any suggestion that we knew anything about the murder in Dubai before it happened, including about the misuse of British passports, is completely untrue."

"As we have said already, the Dubai authorities told us about the role of British passports on February 15, just hours before their press conference," she said. "We told them the following day that the passports used were fraudulent. The head of the Dubai police has also made clear that embassies were not contacted until shortly before the identity of the suspects was revealed."

Police in Dubai accused Israel of involvement in the assassination of a Hamas commander, Mahmoud al-Mabhouh on January 20, saying Mossad, Israel's intelligence agency, was involved in the assassination. This was denied by the Israeli government.

Passports in the names of six British passport holders living in Israel were among 11 European identity papers revealed by Dubai police hunting the hit squad which allegedly carried out the murder. It is alleged that the identities of the passport holders had been stolen by a Mossad hit squad.

On Friday, the Daily Mail, a large circulation British newspaper, carried a news story which alleged that the FCO had had a tip-off that an assassination was going to take place, and that British passports would be used in the operation.

The paper said "MI6 (the British overseas intelligence service) was tipped off that Israeli agents were going to carry out an ' overseas operation' using fake British passports."

The Israeli ambassador to Britain, Ron Prosor, was called to the FCO on Friday in relation to the case, and British prime minister Gordon Brown has promised a full investigation into the misuse of British passports.

Source: Xinhua
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