Hamas official Mahmoud al-Mabhouh (file photo – 17 Feb. 20
Hamas official Mahmoud al-Mabhouh (file photo – 17 Feb. 20

Ireland says it is expelling an Israeli diplomat because of the use of forged Irish passports in the killing of a Hamas official in Dubai earlier this year.

Irish Foreign Minister Michael Martin said Tuesday that the government was taking the action after an investigation led to the conclusion that Israel was responsible for the misuse of passports.  

He says an investigation has shown that eight Irish passports were among those used by suspects in the killing of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh.

Dubai has accused Israeli Mossad agents of killing the Hamas leader at a hotel in the emirate in January.  Authorities say the assassins entered Dubai using fake passports and stolen identities of British, Irish, French, German and Australian nationals.

Last month, Britain and Australia also ordered the expulsion of Israeli diplomats for the use of forged passports in the incident.

Israel has refused to confirm or deny that its agents were involved in the slaying.  However, the Israeli Foreign Ministry says it regrets Ireland's decision to expel a diplomat.

Hamas says Mabhouh was a founding member of its military wing and the mastermind of the 1989 kidnappings of two Israeli soldiers who were later killed.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.