There are "compelling reasons" to believe the Israeli government was responsible for forging British passports used in a plot to kill a Hamas leader in the United Arab Emirates earlier this year, British Foreign Secretary David Miliband said Tuesday.
Such misuse of British passports is intolerable," Miliband said, adding that the fact that Israel was an ally of the United Kingdom "only adds insult to injury."
The passports were "copied from genuine British passports" in a "highly sophisticated operation," indicating a government was behind it, Miliband told the House of Commons.
Britain's Serious Organised Crime Agency concluded that the 12 British people whose passports were cloned where "wholly innocent victims of identity
theft," the foreign secretary said.
The U.K. expelled an Israeli diplomat and changed the advice it gives its citizens about traveling to Israel as a result of the scandal, Miliband said. He did not name the diplomat or say what rank the envoy held.
Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said Tuesday the country "regrets the British decision."
"The relationship between Israel and BritainÂ is mutually important," Palmor added.