Europe

UK to Expel Israeli Diplomat Over Assassination

Britain was to expel an Israeli diplomat Tuesday over the cloning of British passports -- a charge closely linked to the assassination of Hamas commander Mahmoud al Mabhouh, Sky News sources said Tuesday.

The move was expected to be confirmed by U.K. Foreign Secretary David Miliband in a scheduled statement to parliament about the diplomatic row with Israel on Tuesday afternoon.

It follows the Jan. 19 assassination of the senior Hamas official in Dubai, which United Arab Emirates police blamed on an Israeli hit team.

Investigators accused Israel's Mossad spy agency of planning the hit on al Mabhouh for more than a year and using dozens of bogus passports or phony identities to enter the emirate.

Six members of the alleged hit squad used British identities copied from the real passports of six Britons living in Israel.

The Israeli ambassador to London, Ron Prosor, was summoned to the U.K. Foreign Office in February to discuss the charges, but he flatly denied there was any "additional information" to give.

Sky News' foreign affairs editor Tim Marshall said, "The (U.K.) government believes they have compelling evidence that those passports were cloned, probably by some arm of the Israeli state."

The claims come amid separate media reports that the British government was expected Tuesday to formally link Israel to the killing of the Hamas commander.

The Daily Telegraph newspaper in London said Proser was again summoned to the Foreign Office on Monday to be told an inquiry into the murder of Mabhouh discovered for certain that British passports were forged by Israel as part of the assassination operation.

Sky News contributed to this report.