'We are not satisfied'
February 27, 2010 - 1:16PM
Australia is not satisfied with Israeli explanations about the fraudulent use of Australian passports in the assassination of a Hamas operator, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd says.
Mr Rudd said on Saturday the federal government had to "proceed very carefully" in the controversy because of its complex security nature.
Israeli's ambassador to Australia was summoned on Thursday for an urgent meeting with Foreign Minister Stephen Smith.
"When it comes to Australian passport fraud or the use and abuse of Australian passports, this government has an absolutely hard line on defending the integrity of our passport system because millions of the travelling public depend on that each year," Mr Rudd told reporters in Adelaide on Saturday.
"That is why the foreign minister has called in the Israeli ambassador and asked for an explanation.
"Thus far we are not satisfied with that explanation."
Assassins with suspected links to the Israeli spy agency Mossad are believed to have stolen the identities of three Victorians.
The suspects were then involved in the murder of senior Hamas operator Mahmud al-Mabhuh in a Dubai luxury hotel on January 20.
Mr Rudd sidestepped criticism from one of the three Australians involved that they had not been contacted by Australian officials.
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.
Mr Rudd said: "My advice is that Australian officials have been in contact with a range of those associated with the most recent matters.
"Because these involve very complex and security intelligence matters, we have to proceed very carefully.
"I am just weighing my words very carefully.
"I wish to tread very carefully with the security and intelligence matters which arise in relation to each of the individuals and families concerned with this matter.
"Therefore I'm choosing my words very carefully so as not to compromise any person or so as not to compromise any continuing investigation."
This story was found at: http://www.theage.com.au/national/we-are-not-satisfied-20100227-p9tm.html