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Ireland expels Israeli diplomat over Dubai killing

By the CNN Wire Staff
Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, a founding member of Hamas' military wing, was found dead in his hotel room in Dubai in January.
Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, a founding member of Hamas' military wing, was found dead in his hotel room in Dubai in January.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Dublin suspects Israel forged Irish passports
  • Doctored passports allegedly used by team that killed Hamas co-founder
  • Australia and U.K. also expelled diplomats
  • Israel says no evidence links it to killing
RELATED TOPICS
  • Hamas
  • Israel
  • Dubai

(CNN) -- Ireland has expelled an Israeli diplomat over the use of forged passports in the assassination of a Hamas arms dealer in Dubai, allegedly by Israeli agents, the Irish foreign minister announced Tuesday.

Ireland is following in the footsteps of the United Kingdom and Australia, which each kicked out Israeli diplomats after concluding Israel had probably forged their countrys' passports as part of a Mossad operation against Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, a founding member of Hamas' military wing.

Ireland had not been able to link Israel conclusively to the forgery, Foreign Minister Micheal Martin said Tuesday.

But "the fact that the forged Irish passports were used by members of the same group who carried the forged British and Australian passports, leads us to the inescapable conclusion that an Israeli government agency was responsible for the misuse and, most likely, the manufacture of the forged Irish passports associated with the murder of Mr. Mabhouh," he said.

Israel's Foreign Ministry said it "regrets the decision of the Irish government, which is not in line with the importance of our relationship."

Israel maintains there is no proof linking it to the doctored passports or the killing of Al-Mabhouh.

Al-Mabhouh was found dead in his hotel room in Dubai in January.

Police believe he was killed the night before and suspect the Mossad, the secretive Israeli foreign intelligence unit, was behind his killing.

Israel has a stated policy on security matters of neither confirming nor denying involvement.