'Mossad Chief Meir Dagan to Step Down'

Dagan, who has been Mossad director since 2002, requested another year but was refused, Channel 2 news reported.

Mossad chief Meir Dagan has been denied another year in his post and will step down in three months' time, Channel 2 news reported on Friday.

Nir Keidar

According to the report, Dagan, who has served as Mossad director since 2002, requested another year as head of the intelligence agency, but was refused.

The Prime Minister's Office would not comment on the report.

Dagan was appointed eight years ago by former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to head the Mossad, and his term was later extended – twice by former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and, in 2009, current premier Benjamin Netanyahu decided to keep Dagan on for another year.

Dagan faced international criticism after the January assassination of Hamas commander Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai, which was widely believed to be carried out by Mossad agents using forged foreign passports.

Israel has maintained there is no proof tying it to the killing.

However, the Dubai police chief called for Dagan's resignation, and a Mossad official was expelled from Britain, while Ireland and Australia expelled Israeli diplomats over the affair.

A source close to Dagan told Reuters earlier this year that the Mossad chief would not step down before his term is finished because resignation would be tantamount to taking responsibility.

The source added that Dagan's other successes – namely in operations against Hezbollah, Hamas, Syria and Iran – outweigh the fallout from the Mabhouh assassination and are cause enough for Netnayahu to keep him on until his term expires.