Foreign Office denies knowing about Hamas plot

The Foreign Office dismissed claims that it knew about the Hamas assassination plot in advance as "completely untrue" today.

A spokeswoman insisted the department had "no prior knowledge" of the operation or the involvement of cloned British passports.



An article in today's Daily Mail featured allegations from a British security source that the Foreign Office had been told Israeli agents were going to carry out "an operation" abroad and would be travelling on British passports.



The source told the newspaper he had spoken with an agent from Israeli secret service Mossad - which is suspected of being behind the hit.



"He says the British Government was told very, very briefly before the operation what was going to happen," the source reportedly said.



"There was no British involvement and they didn't know the name of the target. But they were told these people were travelling on UK passports."



The Foreign Office said it only found out about the murder of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai last month when details appeared in media reports.



And the department insisted it was only told that cloned British passports were involved shortly before authorities in the Gulf state went public with the information.



"Any suggestion that we knew anything about the murder in Dubai before it happened, including about the misuse of British passports, is completely untrue," the spokeswoman said.



"As we have said already, the Dubai authorities told us about the role of British passports on February 15, several hours before their press conference. We told them the following day that the passports used were fraudulent.



"The head of the Dubai police has also made clear that embassies were not contacted until shortly before the identity of the suspects was revealed."



Dubai police have said that cloned passports belonging to six British Israelis and five Irish citizens were used by a hit squad who allegedly killed the Hamas commander.



Shadow foreign secretary William Hague yesterday called for "fuller" answers about when the Foreign Office was aware fake British passports had been used, saying reports in the Gulf suggested British ministers may have been alerted by Dubai authorities last month.



"We have had 13 years of the current Government and believing at face value immediately everything they say has not been borne out by experience," he said.



He added: "I'm not suggesting complicity with Israel, I simply say there are news reports in the Gulf that this may have been known about by the British Government or other governments at an earlier stage."



Foreign Secretary David Miliband branded the abuse of ID documents "outrageous" and demanded that Tel Aviv co-operate fully with the UK's investigation.



But after being called in to discuss the situation with officials in London yesterday, Israel's ambassador Ron Prosor flatly denied there was any "additional information" to give.



Tel Aviv's ambassador to Ireland, Zion Evrony, delivered a similarly blank message after an hour of discussions with diplomat David Cooney in Dublin.



Red notices have been issued via Interpol in the hunt for 11 people allegedly involved in the hit, and the UK's Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca) is also investigating.



Senior officers in Dubai say they are "99% certain" that Mossad was behind the murder. Tel Aviv has refused to confirm or deny the link.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Environmental Adviser - Maternity Cover

£37040 - £43600 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's export credit agency a...

Recruitment Genius: CBM & Lubrication Technician

£25000 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides a compreh...

Recruitment Genius: Care Worker - Residential Emergency Service

£16800 - £19500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Would you like to join an organ...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Landscaper

£25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: In the last five years this com...

Day In a Page

The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

They fled war in Syria...

...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

Kelis interview

The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea