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Calling it a “protest action,” Ireland on Tuesday ordered the expulsion of an Israeli diplomat after concluding that Israel's intelligence service had used Irish passports as part of the Dubai assassination plot against Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in January.
“The Irish government does not believe that states should fight terror with terror," the Irish foreign minister said Tuesday, according to the Jerusalem Post.
The news comes as Polish prosecutors have announced they will seek to extradite to Germany another Israeli suspect who allegedly forged a passport in Germany for use in the same operation.
The developments add to international criticism of Israel that has mounted since May, when Israeli naval commandos opened fire on a flotilla of aid ships near Gaza. That raid resulted in the deaths of nine pro-Palestinian activists.
Since Mahmoud al-Mabhouh’s death in January, investigations by the UK and Australian governments have found “compelling evidence” that Israeli intelligence agents stole and forged several passports. England and Australia both expelled Israeli diplomats in the wake of the allegations. The passports were used to make fake identities for a Mossad hit team that killed Mr. al-Mabhouh, according to the Dubai police. The Dubai police have said the team consisted of 27 members.
Israel has refused to confirm or deny its involvement in the assassination plot. But Interpol found the Dubai police’s evidence strong enough to issue arrest warrants for all 27, as The Christian Science Monitor reported.
Following its own investigation, Ireland recently concluded that Israel’s intelligence service forged eight Irish passports, reports the Belfast Telegraph.
Irish Foreign Affairs Minister Michael Martin said their investigation found no additional evidence from that of the UK and Australia, but ”the fact that fake Irish documentation was used by members of the same team that carried fraudulent British and Australian passports, led to the 'inescapable conclusion' that an Israeli government agency was responsible for the 'misuse and, most likely, the manufacture” of the forged Irish passports," reports the Irish Times.
The names had been changed, but otherwise the passports were genuine, adds the Belfast Telegraph.
Mr. Martin insisted the expelled diplomat, who remains unnamed, had not been found guilty of any wrongdoing. Rather they are the “victim of the actions of the state they represent.”
The Irish Times adds that the official is a security officer stationed at the Israeli embassy.
Germany appears to be taking action of its own. It has filed a European arrest warrant for Uri Brodsky, an Israeli citizen currently in detention in Poland. According to Der Spiegel magazine, Brodsky was arrested in early June at a Warsaw airport for using a forged passport. The passport was also used in the January assassination operation.
Germany believes the man is a suspect in the alleged assassination, and has requested his extradition, reports Deutsche Welle, an English-language news service based in Germany.
"We're now waiting for the initial detention order to arrive from Germany in the coming days, after which we'll submit all of the documents to court, where a decision will be made over his extradition," a Polish prosecution spokeswoman told Radio Poland, according to Haaretz, an Israeli newspaper.
Haaretz adds that, according to Israeli Embassy sources in Warsaw, the chances of Brodsky being extradited are high.