Mossad has a long history of acquiring authentic passports in bogus names.
The death of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, one of the founders of Hamas’s military wing, in his Dubai hotel room in January has all the hallmarks of a Mossad assassination, with a large surveillance operation undertaken to ensure that the target, who was in transit on his way to Sudan and China, was not accompanied by bodyguards.
The police in Dubai calculate that at least eleven people were involved, including three Irish passport-holders, named as Gail Folliard, Kevin Daveron and Evan Dennings. However, the Irish authorities insist they have never issued passports in those names, and six other alleged British passport-holders are being investigated by the UK Passport Agency but appear to be genuine individuals who have reported being the victims of identity theft in Israel.
One French and one German passport is also involved, and reportedly two Palestinians arrested in Amman were returned to Dubai to undergo interrogation.
Mossad has a long history of acquiring authentic passports in bogus names, and of persuading the Jewish diaspora to lend their travel documents to Israel for unspecified use. Countries targeted in the past have been Australia, New Zealand and Canada, but Ireland and Britain have very lax passport security procedures and abuses are frequent.
In addition, there is thought to be widespread internal corruption in the bodies responsible for issuing passports, as illustrated some years ago by an Irish embassy employee in London who made a fortune by selling legitimate Irish passports by the hundred to people who were not entitled to them. The scandal prompted a review of the controls used by London embassy personnel, but London remains a centre of false documentation.
However, the really significant development is the apparent reliance on personal details misappropriated in Israel. The implication is that the Israeli authorities are now sharing the personal data of residents and visitors with Mossad, which leaves these victims vulnerable to international arrest warrants issued for extremely serious crimes.
This is in effect state-sponsored identity theft, and the natural consequence is that eventually one of the innocent victims will face murder charges while the real assassins have returned to their regular duties.