x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Fourth Australian passport used in al Mabhouh murder

Seven weeks later, international fallout continues from Dubai assassination.

DUBAI // A fourth Australian has been named as a victim of identity fraud in connection with the murder of Mahmoud al Mabhouh in Dubai. Yesterday, the Australian foreign minister, Stephen Smith, said an investigation had revealed that a passport bearing the name of one of the country's citizens, Joshua Krycer, had been "fraudulently duplicated" and used by one of the suspects in the killing to enter the emirate.

"Inquiries by the Australian federal police and the Australian passport office indicate the further passport presented in Dubai was fraudulently duplicated, as was the case with the initial three passports," Mr Smith said in a statement. On Monday, Interpol issued a Red Notice naming Joshua Krycer as an alias used by one of the suspects in the assassination of al Mabhouh, a senior Hamas official, seven weeks ago.

The notices enable arrest warrants to be circulated to other countries. Lt Gen Dahi Khalfan Tamim, the Dubai Police chief, confirmed yesterday that an international task force was working under Interpol to pursue those involved in the murder. Gen Tamim also said he would give one week for any Mossad spies currently in the Gulf to leave the region. "We will carry out a wide-scale pursuit on any spy agent in the Gulf," he said.

Yesterday, Mr Smith said Australian officials were contacted by Dubai authorities on February 26 about the identification of a fourth Australian passport. After further investigation, and "in agreement with Dubai authorities", Mr Krycer was then contacted by the Australian department of foreign affairs and trade. According to media reports, Mr Krycer, like the other three Australians whose passport were apparently forged and used by the hit team, lives in Israel.

"There is no information to suggest that Mr Krycer, as with any of the other three Australian passport holders, was involved in any way, other than as victims of identity fraud," Mr Smith said. Last week, the Australian government confirmed it was sending a team to Israel as part of an investigation into the fraudulent use of its passports. British police have also travelled to Israel, to interview six dual British-Israeli nationals whose names were used by the assassins.

Last month, Mr Smith summoned Yuval Rotem, the Israeli ambassador to Australia, to discuss the fraudulent use of passports in the names of the initial three Australians identified and found to be residing in Israel - Joshua Bruce, Nicole McCabe and Adam Korman.
zconstantine@thenational.ae