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Australia to expel Israeli diplomat over forged passports used in Hamas hit

By Devaki

Canberra, May 24 (ANI): The Rudd Government has announced it will expel an Israeli diplomat in retaliation for Mossad's use of four Australian passports in the assassination of a senior Hamas leader in Dubai earlier this year.

Foreign Minister Stephen Smith informed Parliament through a statement that an investigation by the Australian Federal Police, ASIO and ASIS left the government in no doubt that the sophisticated forgery was the work of a state, namely Israel.

The Australian quoted Smith, as saying that the misuse of the passports was "not the act of a friend" and emphasised the four Australians at the center of the controversy were innocent.

Mahmoud al-Mabhouh was killed in an elaborate operation that involved more than a dozen fake passports from around the world.

Smith's response mirrors that of the UK Government who expelled the Mossad station chief following the fraudulent use of British passports.

"No government can tolerate the abuse of its passports, especially by a foreign government," Smith said, adding, "This represents a clear affront to the security of our passport system."

The Israeli embassy was not immediately available for comment. (ANI)

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