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Innocent Irish faced arrest in 'Mossad' plot

THE DEPARTMENT of Foreign Affairs has summoned the Israeli ambassador for talks as it emerged today that two innocent Irish citizens faced arrest because of the fake passports plot.

The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Micheal Martin, said two of the three innocent people whose passport numbers were used in the Dubai plot were about to travel abroad this weekend.

"In all likelihood, they would have been taken into custody. Interpol would have been on red alert," said Minister Martin.

He said "fairly direct questions" will be asked of the Israeli ambassador, Dr Zion Evrony by his department's secretary-general, David Cooney.

"It's a very serious situation," he added.

This follows a similar move by the British government, which has called in the Israeli ambassador in London to discuss the storm.

Three fake Irish passports and six false British passports were among 11 EU ID papers used by a hit squad which allegedly killed top Hamas commander Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai.

Israel's secret service Mossad is the main suspect for the plot, first revealed in the Herald.

A garda investigation is under way to try to establish how genuine passport numbers were acquired by the killers for their three 'Irish' passports. The department said the names on them -- Gail Folliard, Evan Dennings and Kevin Daveron -- "do not correspond to those recorded on the valid passports carrying the same numbers".

Two of the three Irish citizens whose passport numbers were used were contacted by the department last night. They have been living in Ireland. Efforts are being made to contact the third.

A total of 11 suspects were named by police in Dubai, where Mabhouh was murdered in his hotel on January 20. False German and French passports were also used and the authorities in those countries are promising probes as well.

Fine Gael's spokesman on foreign affairs, Billy Timmons, said the department "did not seem to realise the urgency involved in this passport fraud until Gordon Brown demanded an inquiry."