Vice Premier and former IDF chief of General Staff Moshe Ya'alon on Monday decided not to fly to London next month for fear of being arrested on war crimes charges.
Ya'alon had been invited to a charity event, and had sought advice from the Foreign Ministry before accepting or declining the invitation. Legal sources in the ministry reportedly advised him not to travel to the UK.
Spokesman Alon Ofek-Arnon said that Ya'alon called off his trip "to avoid playing into the hands of anti-Israel propaganda."
He said legal advisers warned Ya'alon of possible charges over his involvement in the 2002 assassination of a Hamas leader that killed 14 other people.
The decision came less than a week after a British court rejected a petition urging an arrest warrant for Defense Minister Ehud Barak on the grounds that he committed "war crimes" during the IDF offensive in the Gaza Strip earlier this year.
The court accepted arguments submitted by the British Foreign Office, which said the defense minister was a state guest, and therefore was not subject to such lawsuits.
Barak was in Britain for talks with Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Defense Secretary Bob Ainsworth and Foreign Secretary David Miliband.
AP and Jonny Paul contributed to this report
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