Foreign Office warning for British visitors to Israel
British holidaymakers are being warned to keep a close eye on their passports in Israel after a member of the Israeli security services was expelled from the UK for cloning identification papers.
The latest advice on the Foreign Office website suggests British visitors to Israel should only hand over their passports to third parties, including Israeli officials, 'when absolutely necessary'.
Fake British passports, cloned from UK citizens who had visited Israel, were used by those who murdered former Hamas head of security Mahmud al-Mabhuh in Dubai in January.
The Foreign Office website warning read; UK passport holders should be aware of a recent Serious Organised Crime Agency investigation into the misuse of UK passports in the murder of Mahmud al-Mabhuh in Dubai on 19 January 2010.
"The SOCA investigation found circumstantial evidence of Israeli involvement in the fraudulent use of British passports."
It is believed the British victims had their passports cloned when they travelled through Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion airport up to two years go.
"This has raised the possibility that your passport details could be captured for improper uses while your passport is out of your control said the Foreign Office. The risk applies in particular to passports without biometric security features."
Security at Israeli airports is higher than almost anywhere else in the world and it is common practice for officials to take away visitors' passports for examination. As British citizens are unlikely to be able to refuse to hand over their passports for examination by Israeli officials, anyone with an older passport planning a trip to Tel Aviv might want to consider applying for a new one with the latest biometric features.