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Australia To Expel Israeli Diplomat Over Fake Passport

Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith spoke to parliament about the decision.
Australia says it will expel an Israeli diplomat after finding that Israel was behind fake Australian passports linked to the killing of a top Hamas militant.

Foreign Minister Stephen Smith told the parliament that an investigation left no doubt Israeli intelligence services were behind the forgery of four Australian passports used by suspects in the January killing of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh at a Dubai hotel.

"This is not the first occasion that Australian passports have been misused by Israeli authorities. The Dubai passports incident also constitutes a clear and direct breach of confidential undertakings between Australia and Israel dating back some years. This is not what we expect from a nation with whom we have had such a close, friendly, and supportive relationship," Smith said.

Smith said Australia remains a "firm friend" of Israel but no government can tolerate the abuse of its passports.

Britain expelled an Israeli over the same matter in March. Israel has neither confirmed nor denied involvement in the murder.

compiled from agency reports