back to article blames Israel for cloning passports in Dubai hit

The UK Foreign Secretary has directly blamed Israel for forging 12 passports used in the Dubai assassination of a Hamas military boss in January. Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, founder of Hamas's military wing, was killed in a Dubai hotel on 19 January by a 27-strong hit squad who entered the UAE using counterfeit passports from Western …


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  1. Yves Kurisaki


    You can't clone these passports without the help of the UK.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Big Brother

      Re: Nonsense

      Or the help of one or more Israeli agents inside the production system.

    2. Ryan Kendall


      Since Isreal makes its own passports like most countries, I'm sure its not hard for them to fake them also.

      They have a long history of doing this before with kidnappings and assassinations.

    3. Paul 4


      Please do explain, because that makes no sense....

    4. M Gale


      The digital information on the UK's so-called "secure" passports and identity cards is so ridiculously easy to grab, copy and modify that only a New Labour drone would still believe that sticking everyone with an RFID chip is anywhere near a good idea or ever was.

      The only thing remaining is to make the physical copy look convincing enough for a border guard to wave it through. Methinks a nuclear power has or can get the expertise to do that, without the UK's help.

      1. blackworx

        Cloning != Falsifying

        Sure you can clone the RFID data, but at the moment you cannot change it. (As far as I recall - apologies if that's not true.) So in reality there is no point in doing so since if you want to change the photo then you'll get caught by biometric border controls, and all you need for non-biometric borders is a decent physical copy.

        1. M Gale


          "Sure you can clone the RFID data, but at the moment you cannot change it."

          ..I hope an apology will be forthcoming from the people voting me down.

  2. Peter Galbavy

    weasel words

    I love the way the Israeli spokepiece is reported as saying "there is no proof that we were involved" as opposed to the clearer "we were not involved". Weasel words indeed...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Black Helicopters

      Israel never confirms....

      ....and never denies.

    2. Steve X

      It's policy

      They have a "policy of ambiguity", which seems remarkably non-ambiguous to me...

  3. Gianni Straniero
    Big Brother

    "Unnamed diplomat expelled"

    For which read: "known Mossad agent".

    Whenever there are mutual explusions of "diplomats" from embassies, they're always intelligence staff. Just goes to show we know a lot more about one another's spook setups than we like to let on.

    1. Chris Gravell

      Exctly. Probably the Mossad/ MI6 liaison Officer

      But, there is talk that it was Mossad that were tracking the IRA Gibraltar crew. And that MI6 only notified 22 SAS only after a tip-off from them.

      Any Mossad "diplomat " will be on a return ticket. This is just publicity. They are permanently stationed in the UK.

  4. JP19

    This is intolerable

    What exactly is intolerable?

    That Israel demonstrated the UK Government's blind stupid faith in identity documents is misplaced?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      British reaction at the low end or possible responses.

      Ignoring the morarlty or otherwise of the operation,the use of British passports undermines the general acceptance of a British passport and may hinder British citizens in the future.

      There was specific agreement between the Israeli and British governments after the last incident like this in 1987 that Israel would not use British passports in this kind of operation in the future. Israel broke this agreement. Not an unusual thing for Israel but not something the British government can ignore if agreements with Israel are to have any meaning at all.

      Overall given that israel has broken a specific agreement with a supposed ally and in doing so potentially impaired the travel of all British citizens I think the reaction is rather minor but then Israel always seems to have exceptionally favourable treatment. Israel has a long and consistent history of the use of death squads sometimes murdering civilians even in friendly countries, for example the Lillehammer incident. What would be the reaction if this had been Libya or Iran?

  5. blackworx
    Black Helicopters

    "The fact that it was done by a friend"

    No friend of mine

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Down

      or my friend......

      Israel doesn't desearve to be anybodies friend.

      When you buy your fruit make sure it comes from the West Bank. That way you aren't supporting a terrorist state.

  6. Dale 3


    All the more reason for everyone to get an ID card, which definitely can't be cloned like this.

  7. Red Bren
    Black Helicopters

    Not wanting to join the tinfoil hat brigade but

    1. Israel allegedly produces high quality clones of UK (and other) passports.

    2. Israeli agents use cloned passports in an extra-judical assassination

    3. expels a low-level Israeli diplomat in protest

    Or alternatively

    1. produces high quality clones of UK passports.

    2. Israeli agents use provided passports in an extra-judical assassination

    3. makes a show of expelling a low-level Israeli diplomat in protest

    4. suddenly has a selling point for their unwanted biometric ID card & Passport scheme and Israel is rid of a thorn in its side. Everyone is happy!

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    At last...

    ... both UK and US governments are coming close to admitting what they have known full well for years - that Israel is a self-righteous rogue state responsible, both historically and currently, for a huge measure of the unrest in the Middle East and elsewhere.

    1. ElFatbob
      Thumb Down

      Nice bit of revisionist history there....

      Better than letting the facts get in the way.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      I saw a programme on television the other day filmed from within the west bank and it was a real eye opener to the way the Jews actually behave towards the Palistinians.

      The Palestinians are always portrayed by Israel and the media as being the bad guys, but fundamentally, everything that goes into the West Bank is controlled by Israel, that's everything.

      Israel won't even allow the country to have enough medical supplies! Why on earth would a supposedly democratic country quite deliberately deny another country medicine?

      They way the Israel behaves towards other countries, is in my absolutely disgusting.

      The fact is, Israel denies these people basic human rights. Hardly the actions of an intelligent, democracy is it? But there you go.

      An English born Jewish friend of mine was always supportive of Israel, they could do no wrong in his eyes. Forget about the violation of numerous UN resolutions, his perception was that Israel was always correct.

      His attitude - which I feel may be representative of the Israeli nation as a whole - was, "Hamas hit Israel with a few rockets, kill a couple of Israelis, so we attack the West Bank back 10 times as hard, we slaughter many more people to teach them a lesson." "And we don't care if they're civilians or not".

      I think it's disgusting. But no-one can put a stop to it? Why? Because of money, the Jewish influence in western countries around the world.

      My prediction for the future? There will never be peace in the middle east between Israel and its neighbours, because of their arrogance and determination to win what was given to them in a stupid f**ng fictional book!

      1. Tom Samplonius

        Re: Nature

        Umm... the thing is, the guy who was killed was founder of Hamas, and Hamas launched many successful attacks against Isreal. And Hamas still argues for complete elimination of Isreal as a state and people. In effect, genocide. Isreal, just wants to build a wall around the Palenstinian areas. The Palestinians have their own gov't now. In fact, they have two, because they can't agree.

        No one in the middle east is too worked up about this killing. One guy got killed. Big deal. Hamas assassinates more of their own people each year.

        Their could be peace in Palenstine, but not with Hamas. They can't agree with anyone.

        1. Anonymous Coward

          Hardly Surprising

          Cultural memories take a long time to heal. Israel *was* created on and *does* occupy part of the pre 1945 county of Palestine. A British "protectorate" that we protected by giving away. While a little real-politic on the part of Hamas wouldn't hurt anybody, nor would a little compassion and respect of this little piece of history on the part of Israel. Sadly these kinds of greivences often take tens of generations to settle down. Still, lots of people get to die pointlessly in that time, so that's nice.

          Perhaps if we'd set up the Jewish state in California the US point of view would be different? Although possibly Northern Ireland would have been the most entertaining option.


      2. Wayland Sothcott 1

        Moses was real

        I don't think the book was fictional. I think Moses really did kick it all off my murdering a slave master and burrying him in the sand. Having broken the Israelite slaves free of Egypt they then went round raiding the various towns and cities killing everyone, men women and children. In those days they were hated and feared. In mitigation, God made them do it.

        Obviously it's completely different today.

        PS: Maybe I should not have read the first bit of the Bible?

    3. Wayland Sothcott 1

      Anti-semetic again

      Just because you are correct does not make it ok to say this stuff. Saying unkind (but true) things about Israel is anti-semetic because it hurts their feelings. Remember the Nazi's were very horrible to them so cut them some slack. Once they get even and kill about 3 million of the rest of us, then we can start complaining, until then, just be understanding of them.

      1. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

        Re: Anti-semetic again

        It's 'semitic'.

        And it is fair to say that plenty of people are looking for an excuse to Jew-bash. You've got to be careful how you criticise. Doesn't mean you can't say anything. It's a matter of maturity and balance. Same goes for the critics of the critics. Yeah?

        1. Wayland Sothcott 1

          Good point

          And it's good to see people telling it how it is on this board. Censureship on other boards is much stronger. I only hinted with "The people who clone passports killed David Kelly" and my post was blocked.

          It's perfectly normal for one nation to kill people in their neighbouring nation. Israel is not unusual in this respect. Britain is a past master at this and at one time killed people in every country of the world. It's just makes me sick that the Israelies play the simpathy card and expect us to feel sorry for them when they have a longer history than most of murdering people.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    Handy that eh.... that it allows the UK gov to say:

    "Meanwhile, 11 of the 12 Brits whose identity was abused in the assignation have accepted higher security biometric passports."

    And talk up how wonderful the new NIR-friendly passports are so they can keep better tabs on their citizens.

  10. Matt Bryant Silver badge

    Just political posturing.

    Millygirl trying to look tough? Yeah, like MI6 has NEVER used fake passports before! I suppose a suitably Biblical quote would be "Let he whom is without sin cast the first stone".... The argument from the civil servants is that by abusing the integrity of Birtish passports, Israel has put all UK travellers at risk. Personally, I'll feel much safer on my next trip to Israel knowing MadBoob is not around to send suicide bombers anymore.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ha Mossad and the long arm of Israel

    It seems that in this case Kidon with support from other branches of the institute have been caught short. After promises to Canada the UK and NZ that they would not do this again.

    The vidz on youtube shew all one needs to know. Right down to the surgical gloves, reddened elbows and hiding of faces on exit point to the lift: (Cow prod followed swiftlty by Suxamethonium Chloride and rapid pillow suffocation to complete the job).

    Israel needs to start making friends. And it won't do this through Zionism.

  12. John A Blackley

    I love a good farce

    Unfortunately, this one's one of those predictable ones.

    Mock outrage, flimsy denial, promise made that no-one expects to be kept and the token sending-home of a faceless official.

    All (very shabby) theatre for the diversion of the masses. Behind closed doors? A few words delivered in hurt tones by Millipede and a response delivered in "Oh grow up!" tones by the Israeli bod.

    1. blackworx
      Thumb Up

      Or, more likely...

      Behind closed doors? A few words delivered in hushed tones, to the tune of "do us all a favour and don't let the ragheads catch you next time".

      MI6 and the Mossad? Oh they're over there. In that tree. K-I-S-S-I-N-G.

  13. Michael Jennings

    I am shocked, shocked.

    <em>"This is intolerable. The fact that it was done by a friend... adds insult to injury."</em>

    Oh yes. As if no British agent has ever traveled on a forged foreign passport pretending to come from a friendly foreign country.

  14. Anonymous Coward


    How many organisations are going to forge Israeli passports as cover in the middle east :-?

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Highly likely

    I wonder... does the probability that Mossad did it, outweigh the improbability of a couple of suspected "Mossad agents" escaping from Dubai to Iran?

    Wait, what's that nois...

  16. Anonymous Coward

    No Sir Dont Do that...

    "Miliband has sought assurances from Israeli foreign minster Avigdor Lieberman that British passports will not be misused in this way again."

    So its, naughty naughty, dont do it again ... Please...

  17. ceedee

    Assurance? Nah, thanks....

    "Miliband has sought assurances from Israeli foreign minster Avigdor Lieberman that British passports will not be misused in this way again."

    No need, we've had that assurance since 1987 -- just after the last time the Mossad were caught with forged passports. (See for example)

  18. Combat Wombat

    So when...

    The "new and Improved" biometric ones get cloned, we will know that it had to be the country that cloned them.

    I want to see Israel weasel out of that one.

    Cloned passport AND biometric chip ?

    OMG Haxorz !

    As soon as your passport is scanned through Israel border control, they have an official copy of all your details, which can be cloned in their passport factory.

    Biometrics are not designed to repel official high level cloning of passports, just the low level Nigerian stuff.

    Moral of the story...

    Don't travel via Israel, if you don't want your data stolen.

  19. Paul

    stolen passports

    who needs to manufacture a clone passport when you get get hold of genuine but blank ones? proof that blank passports are not always stored/transported securely:

  20. Neoc
    Black Helicopters

    Wait a second...

    "Meanwhile, 11 of the 12 Brits whose identity was abused in the assignation have accepted higher security biometric passports. "

    Someone care to guess why #12 didn't? My paranoid mind says it's because he/she was *already* on the new passport system and it *still* got cloned.

  21. Tom Samplonius
    Thumb Up

    Were they high quality? And why so many UK?

    First of all, it is pretty suspicious that so many British passports were cloned. And the claims don't make a lot of sense. If indeed they were copied while they had "access", that means that Isreal could have copied any passport of anyone traveling through any airport in Isreal.

    And why are they now "high quality" passports? The pictures were completely different, then the names. In fact, why did official claim after the initial killing was carried out, that the passports were "obvious forgeries"?

    The whole thing is BS. When it looked like UK citizens were involved, the UK said that the passports were obviously forged, to pass the blame to Dubai. When it emerged, they were copied, then it suddely was declared that Isreal copied them, because they are supposedly so hard to copy. As already has been mentioned, it isn't hard.

    1. blackworx


      "The pictures were completely different, then the names"

      You don't believe the govt. statement that the original passports were non-biometric?

  22. Tom Samplonius

    Left through Iran?

    That part that makes the least sense, is that two of these suspected "Mossad" agents flew to Iran, after the killing. Iran is on high alert due to the election related unrest.

    Foreign visitors of any type are always carefully examined in Iran, and are always assumed to be western spies. Anyone suspicious is arrested, and ejected. And they didn't notice two Brits with fake passports just passing through? In addition, why wasn't Iran's highly capable security agencies able to explain where these two went after the killing? They just flew into Iran, and disappeared? That is unlikely. They would know, if they boarded an outgoing flight, and which one. Or, if they left the airport. And they would know where they are now. They just aren't saying.

  23. lglethal Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    hard to believe

    I still find it hard to believe that a nation's intelligence service could make such OBVIOUSLY fake passports - after how many years of making them? They should know by now how to make ones that look real and follow the rules of actual passports (the correct rules for passport photo are not hard too find out for f*cks sake!). So im sorry but i still cant believe this was a mossad op.

    On a side note - i have yet to hear a single voice raised in anger about the fact that Mahmood was ALSO travelling on a fake passport. I havent been able to find from any source which country's passports he was travelling on but i think personally i am much more concerned with the fact that terrorists (and well known terrorists at that) are able to get fake passports too!

    1. blackworx

      Dime... Bar?

      The fakes weren't discovered because they were badly done, they were discovered because police investigated CCTV footage and hotel records after finding a dead body. By that point the perps had left the country and said passports had been disposed of. If the passports were so "OBVIOUSLY fake" then surely they'd have been spotted before any of that happened, no?

      Ok so the Mossad cocked up, otherwise we wouldn't have even heard about this, but on all available info the cockup doesn't seem to have been with their passport forgery skills.

      And surely this Mahmoud fellow would be a lousy *international criminal* if he WASN'T using a fake passport?

  24. Chris Young

    Friends ...

    "The fact that it was done by a friend ..."

    Perhaps this might show the UK government that they should perhaps pick their "friends" a little more carefully.

    To think that the country of which I am a tax-paying citizen regards Israel as a "friend" is more than a little galling.

  25. asdf

    are you serious?

    >When you buy your fruit make sure it comes from the West Bank. That way you aren't supporting a terrorist state.

    I hope you were being ironic but I am guessing not. I won't argue the point about Israel (pariah state much like North Korea) but saying the West Bank hasn't also committed some terrible human rights violations against even their own people is to deny reality. For christ sakes they had a Mickey Mouse clone teach the tikes to kill jews on TV. The west bank hasn't gotten much better since Arafat died but too early to praise their tactics yet.

  26. Anonymous Coward

    Get Your Filthy Hands off My Desert...

    The best analogy I ever heard to describe Israel's approach to the Palestinians was:

    Like taking a shotgun to your neighbour's kids for throwing stones at your conservatory that you've built in their back garden.

    Pretty much sums it up for me.

  27. Wayland Sothcott 1


    It's anti-semetic to accuse Israel of this.

    It's also Racist to disagree with Barak Obama.

    1. blackworx


      Get it right.

      Also "Barack"

  28. Anonymous Coward

    I don't mind

    I look pretty hot on my passport so having it used as a ploy to assasinate someone then it turning up on the news would possibly boost my chances of getting a girlfriend.

    Would of been nice, I suppose.

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