The killing of a senior Hamas official in Dubai should not be considered as murder, an Israeli minister said today.
Public diplomacy minister Yuli Edelstein insisted that he did not know who carried out the assassination of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, which has been widely blamed on the Israeli secret service, Mossad.
But speaking to a meeting of the Henry Jackson Society think tank at the House of Commons, he said that it would be wrong to become "overly emotional" about his death.
"Even if it will turn out that the worst secret service of the worst country in the world had managed to get to that guy, I will still not call it murder," he said.
"We are talking about the worst murderer in one of the worst terrorist organisations, so let's not get overly emotional about his death and let's not start mourning his death."
The killing of Mr al-Mabhouh in his hotel room in Dubai last month threatened to spark a major diplomatic row after it was disclosed that the hit squad responsible used forged European passports - six of them British.
Gordon Brown last week ordered an investigation into the use of the fake UK documents headed by the Serious Organised Crime Agency.