< HOME  Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Britain summons 6srael envoy over Dubai assassination

Bethlehem - Ma'an - Britain will ask Israel to explain why six alleged members of a hit squad that killed a Hamas commander in Dubai last month entered the emirate with UK passports, The Guardian reported Wednesday.

The London-based newspaper said the Israeli ambassador will be called in to the Foreign Office on Thursday to "share information" about the use of identities stolen from six citizens living in Israel who deny involvement in the assassination of former Hamas commander Mahmoud Al-Mabhouh last month.

British Prime Minister Gordon Blown has also launched a "full investigation" into the use of British passports that will be led by the Serious Organized Crime Agency (SOCA), according to the report.

"The British passport is an important part of being British and we have to make sure everything is done to protect it," the prime minister reportedly said.

Meanwhile, thousands of Palestinians rallied in the northern Gaza Strip to mourn the death of Al-Mabhouh, a founder of the Al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of the Hamas movement.

Al-Qassam spokesman Abu Obaida said the "decision has been made" to respond to the assassination, for which Israel has largely been blamed.

He said Israel would soon "pay for their crime," and are awaiting a "harsh response," and warned Israel against invading Gaza again.

Also on Wednesday, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said that there was no definitive proof Israel's intelligence agency carried out the assassination, although he stopped short of denying it.

"I don't know why we are assuming that Israel, or the Mossad, used those passports," he said.


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