Australia examines British evidence against Israel

CANBERRA, Australia — An Australian investigation into fake passports used by a suspected hit squad that assassinated a Hamas operative in Dubai will examine a British report that found evidence that Israel was responsible for forging the documents.
Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith said Wednesday that British Foreign Secretary David Miliband offered him the report by the Serious and Organized Crime Agency for use by Australian police in their investigation into four forged Australian passports allegedly used by the suspects.
Britain took the extraordinary step of expelling an Israeli diplomat for the first time in more than 20 years after concluding there was compelling evidence that Israel was responsible for the use of doctored British passports in the plot to kill Hamas official Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in January.
Smith declined to say whether his government was likely to take similar action when the Australian investigation concludes. "To make any commentary or remarks about what the United Kingdom government has done would necessarily cut across our own investigation and what decisions we might make," Smith told Australian Broadcasting Corp. radio. "Suffice to say we are treating this matter very seriously. Israel understands that."