Is this the Mossad’s worst mess-up ever?
Every major paper today is running the pictures of the 11 people suspected of carrying out the assassination of Hamas man Mahmoud al-Mabhouh on January 20.
Three held Irish passports – but the Irish deny that the names were fictitious.
One held a French passport, one held a German passport. So far no comment.
Six held a British passport, and here’s the rub. At least one of the names on the British passports belongs to a real person – a real British citizen living in the central Israeli town of Beit Shemesh. And it seems highly unlikely that, if you were looking to invent an identity, you would come up with “Melvyn Adam Mildiner” – coincidentally a British-Israeli citizen.
Now, let’s be clear. This is not proof positive that it is the Mossad that done it. Passports can be forged, and forging the name of an Israeli would be a great way of pointing the finger at Israel. Mr Mildiner absolutely insists that his passport is tucked away safely at home.
But………. I have heard, first-hand, of foreign residents in Israel being asked to lend their passports to security services, which returned them at a later date with a couple of extra stamps. It does seem at the very least plausible that the Mossad somehow got its hands on Mr Mildiner’s British passport – and used it.
Of course, they would have to be prize idiots if they used it in the course of an assassination, an assassination which has garnered international headlines for weeks now. But stranger things have happened.
So if it does turn out to be true, what can we expect?
In 1997, Mossad agents were caught using Canadian passports during a failed assassination attempt on Hamas man Khalid Meshal in Jordan. Canada was absolutely furious and a diplomatic blow-up ensued, during which Canada withdrew its ambassador to Israel, and Israel had to swear to Canada never to repeat the act.
Dubai has already accused Britain of being complicit in the assassination. Considering that Israel is currently trying to get the Brits to change the law in order to make sure Israeli officials can enter the UK without threat of arrest, if it turns out that the Mossad was using British passports, you can expect the volume of outrage to be turned up very, very high.