Page last updated at 16:49 GMT, Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Israeli diplomat expelled over UK passport 'misuse'

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The UK is to expel an Israeli diplomat over the use of 12 forged British passports linked to the murder of Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai, Foreign Secretary David Miliband has confirmed.

On 23 March 2010, Mr Miliband told the Commons that there were "compelling reasons" to believe Israel was responsible for the passport "misuse".

He said: "The government takes this matter extremely seriously. Such misuse of British passports is intolerable."

Israel says there is no proof it was behind the killing in Dubai in January.

But Mr Milband said it was "highly likely" the Israeli secret service Mossad was involved and the fact that Israel was a close ally added "insult to injury".

He added: "Such misuse of British passports is intolerable. It presents a hazard for the safety of British nationals in the region.

"It also represents a profound disregard for the sovereignty of the United Kingdom."

Shadow foreign secretary William Hague supported the government's actions.

"We cannot permit the cloning of, interference with, or misuse of British passports by another state," he said.

Liberal Democrat spokesman Ed Davey also supported the government's measures and said it was "intolerable" that a close ally should treat Britain in this way.

He told Mr Miliband: "It is difficult to get the correct balance when dealing with a state like Israel which is a close friend of this country but I believe you have judged it well."

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