ISRAEL has come under more pressure after additional revelations from Dubai about the murder of Hamas official Mahmoud Al Mabhouh – namely that the identities of another 15 people were stolen and used by those who carried out the killing.
The Mossad is suspected of carrying out the assassination; Israel, as it always does, has refused to either confirm or deny the allegations.
Six of the 15 had British passports and three had Australian passports. Some of those whose identities have been used have dual nationality and live in Israel, making it some kind of first.
Mossad has generally not used its own citizens’ identities to carry out operations abroad though in the past it has not been too bothered about violating the sovereignty of other countries where such operations are concerned.
There are Arabs said to be involved too, with two Palestinians being held in Dubai and Syria reported to be holding an associate of Mahbouh.
The murder took place in January and it took 10 days for the Dubai Police to conclude that it was not a natural death.
Both Britain and Australia have traditionally been extremely good allies of Israel and the fact that both countries appear to have been treated with contempt will obviously rankle.
The Australian Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, did not mince his words, saying that if it was found that Israel was involved in stealing Australian travel documents, then it would not be the act of a friend.
The whole affair looked like settling down when these fresh allegations broke. Now it is likely to drag on for quite a while.