Saturday, February 27, 2010

No one contacted me on passport: Aussie

AAP February 27, 2010, 8:54 am
Australia warned Israel against using forged passports as far back as 1999, a former diplomat said.


A terrified Australian woman whose identity was used in the assassination of a top Hamas official says the federal government has not yet offered her any help.

Pregnant Nicole McCabe, 27, said she had no idea how her identity was stolen, as she still had her Australian passport in her Tel Aviv apartment, where she lives with husband Tsahi Look.

Australian authorities have not yet contacted Ms McCabe over the revelations she is among three Australians whose stolen identities were used in the killing of senior Hamas operative Mahmud al-Mabhuh in a Dubai hotel room last month.

"I don't understand why nobody has called me to offer help from the government," Ms McCabe told News Limited.

"Nobody. Not one phone call.

"I'm surprised the embassy has not contacted me. I'm going to call them tomorrow to ask for help.

"I'm terrified. I haven't slept and I'm shaky.

"I'm worried for my health and I'm worried for my baby's health.

"I have no idea how they got hold of my passport, Obviously it's not my photo.

Ms McCabe, who is six months pregnant, has lived in Israel for two-and-a-half years and last left six months ago when she visited Australia and Thailand.

Joshua Bruce and Adam Korman also had their identities stolen and used in fake passports held by the alleged assassins.

Mossad, Israel's secret service, is believed to be behind the organised hit.

Earlier on Saturday, a former Australian ambassador to Israel revealed that he had warned the Israeli government not to fake Australian passports for intelligence operations.

Ian Wilcock, who was Australia's ambassador in Israel from 1997 to 1999, has told The Weekend Australian that he met Israeli Foreign Ministry officials in Jerusalem twice during his posting to convey to them strong concerns about the potential abuse of Australian passports by Israeli intelligence.

"The abuse of such a fundamental Australian document is completely unacceptable," Mr Wilcock said yesterday.

"We had concerns at the time about the abuse of the passports of a third country, so I met senior officials in the foreign ministry in Jerusalem and we put our concerns very strongly about the potential for this being done to Australian passports."

Mr Wilcock's comments support assertions made this week by former foreign minister Alexander Downer, who said the Howard government had raised the issue with the Israeli government.

The Rudd government has demanded answers from Israel about its suspected role in backing the theft of three Australian citizens' identities by its spy agency, Mossad, to carry out a political assassination.

Britain, France, Ireland and Germany have also called on Israel to explain why the identities of their citizens were stolen as part of the 26-person hit-squad that suffocated Hamas official Mahmud al-Mabhuh in his Dubai hotel room.

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