LONDON - Ireland yesterday announced its decision to expel an Israeli diplomat from Dublin, following the completion of an investigation there into the use of eight fake Irish passports by suspects in the murder of Hamas man Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai early this year.
Ambassador Zion Evrony was invited yesterday morning to a meeting with David Cooney, secretary-general of the Department of Foreign Affairs, and informed of the decision. The embassy released a statement saying Israel "regrets this decision," and "believes that it does not reflect the overall positive relations which exist between Ireland and Israel."
Foreign Minister Micheal Martin affirmed yesterday that the inquiry had lead to "the inescapable conclusion that an Israeli government agency was responsible for the misuse and, most likely, the manufacture of the forged Irish passports associated with the murder of Mr. Mabhouh."
He added that all efforts by investigators to get explanations or assistance from Israel had "yielded no response and no denial" of Mossad involvement.
"The misuse of Irish passports by a state ... with which Ireland enjoys friendly, if sometimes frank, bilateral relations is clearly unacceptable and requires a firm response," Martin said. "Accordingly, I have proposed, and the government has agreed at today's cabinet meeting, that by way of protest at its unacceptable action, Israel be requested to withdraw a designated member of staff of its embassy in Dublin. This demand has been conveyed to the Israeli ambassador and I would expect it to be quickly acceded to."
Martin did not reveal either the name or the function of the official being asked to withdraw.
"I want to state clearly that the official concerned is not accused or suspected of any particular wrongdoing," he said. "In being obliged to leave their post prematurely, the official concerned is a victim of the actions of the state they represent."
Meanwhile, the Israeli detainee in Poland suspected of involvement in Mabhouh's assassination is in good condition both physically and emotionally, Radio Poland reported.
The Israeli consul in Warsaw, Shalom Assaf, told the station that he had visited the man, identified as Uri Brodsky, in jail and made sure that he is in good health and being held in reasonable conditions.
The suspect's Polish lawyer told the station that his client "denies any link to the suspicions against him, and hopes this affair comes to an end as soon as possible." A prosecution spokeswoman said, "We're now waiting for the initial detention order to arrive from Germany in the coming days, after which we'll submit all of the documents to court, where a decision will be made over his extradition."
High-ranking officials in the Israeli Embassy in Warsaw said "The odds of him being extradited to Germany are very high."
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