'Australia had Mossad issues in past'

Former Palestinian envoy tells 'The Australian' warnings were ignored in 2004.

February 25, 2010 20:58
1 minute read.
This combination image made from undated photos re

mabhouh assassins 311. (photo credit: AP)

Australia has had problems with the Mossad trying to "clean" passports in the past, a former Palestinian envoy to Australia was quoted as saying Thursday. The comments came just hours after Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith summoned Israel's ambassador and demanded his cooperation in an investigation into the use of the passports in Mabhouh's killing.

The Australian quoted Ali Kazak as saying that he had warned the Howard government of the problem back in 2004, and that he had been "vindicated by confirmation that cloned Australian passports" had been used in the assassination of Hamas terrorist Mahmoud al-Mabhouh.

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"I told you but you didn't act on the warning," he was quoted as saying. "And you've put Australian lives at risk."

He added that he was sure that Mossad agents had killed the Hamas operative. "Yesterday the Israeli members of parliament were praising the head of Mossad for what he did - for assassinating the Hamas leader in Dubai," Kazak said.

"This neglect, this appeasement, this closing of eyes towards Israel is putting Israel's interest above Australia," he added.

Former Australian foreign minister Alexander Downer, however, rejected the Palestinian's claim, according to The Australian.

Downer claimed that the Howard government had warned Israel not to use fake Australian passports in intelligence operations. "We have raised the issue of Israeli intelligence officers using foreign passports and that they should not consider using Australian passports," he was quoted as saying.

Dubai authorities are investigating the use of at least 26 possibly fraudulent passports in connection with the January 19 slaying of in a hotel room in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The suspects using foreign passports are 12 Britons, six Irish, four French, three Australian and one German.

At least seven of the 26 passports share names with people living in Israel, reinforcing widespread suspicion about Mossad involvement and bringing sharp complaints from European ambassadors about how the expertly altered passports were obtained.

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