British media is reporting that the incoming head of Israel's international intelligence agency is allegedly set to apologize to the British government for using fake passports to assassinate a top Hamas terrorist last May.
Writing for the Saturday edition of the British Telegraph, Gordon Thomas claimed that Tamir Pardo will personally deliver the apology over the Mahmoud al-Mabhouh affair during private meetings with British officials in May. Pardo is scheduled to meet with Foreign Secretary William Hague and Home Secretary Theresa May, according to “Mossad insiders,” reported Thomas, who has written a book on the agency.
The sources added that Pardo, a former deputy to Mossad chief Meir Dagan, allegedly objected to using cloned UK passports. Dagan resigned his post in June 2009, half a year before the assassination was carried out.
Israel's ties with Britain were stretched perilously thin over the elimination of Mabhouh, who procured weapons from Iran for the Hamas terrorist organization. The assassination, which took place in a luxurious Dubai hotel room, involved more than two dozen operatives using 32 fake foreign passports, at least 12 of which were British.
The UK was deeply angered by the operation, which it blamed on Israel. The Jerusalem government has refused to acknowledge or deny responsibility for the assassination, in accordance with standard policy. Nevertheless, media around the world have generally credited Israel's Mossad with the hit.
“The fact that this was done by a country which is a friend, with significant diplomatic, cultural, business and personal ties to the UK only adds insult to injury,” charged former Foreign Secretary David Millibrand shortly after the affair came to light.
UK Expelled Four Diplomats
In March, Britain expelled two senior Israeli diplomats in retaliation for the cloning of its passports – an unprecedented move in London.
Australia followed with similar action in May, expelling the head of its Mossad office. The Canberra government charged that four of the passports were “deliberately counterfeited and cloned” by the agency to resemble Australian documents.
Ireland also expelled an Israeli diplomat in June as punishment for the operation. According to the Dubai government, eight of the passports pictured fictional Irish citizens.