Govt under pressure over knowledge of Dubai murder passports

By Ian Dunt

The government found itself under intense pressure today to explain when it found out about the use of British passports in the assassination of a senior Hamas figure in Dubai.

One security source told the Daily Mail MI6 was tipped off that the Israelis planned to murder Mahmoud al-Mabhouh using fraudulent British passports, while another source close to the Israel authorities told the Telegraph Britain was “feigning” outrage over the incident.

The revelations come days after Independent reporter Robert Fisk said a source in Dubai had informed the British government about the use of the passports eight days ago but “did not receive an appropriate reply”.

Shadow foreign secretary William Hague called for a statement from the prime minister and foreign secretary confirming when they knew of the British link.

“There were reports in the Gulf at the end of January that the head of the police in Dubai had contacted consulates and embassies for assistance with this investigation,” he said.

“It is an entirely possible scenario that the British government was alerted that long ago to the use of British passports. I would like to know when the government, when the prime minister, when the foreign secretary were informed about that and what action they decided to take then.”

The government beefed up its response to the incident yesterday, with Gordon Brown promising an investigation and David Miliband branding the use of the passports “an outrage”.