CANBERRA Australia's government on Thursday called in Israel's ambassador after three people traveling on Australian passports were named as suspects in the assassination of a top Hamas official at a Dubai luxury hotel.
Dubai authorities have now identified 26 people suspected of involvement in the assassination of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, with three people using Australian passports named among 15 new suspects, most of them Europeans.
"We will not be silent on this matter. It is a matter of deep concern. It really goes to the integrity and fabric of the use of state documents, which passports are, for other purposes," Prime Minister Kevin Rudd told Australian radio.
Dubai authorities named the three as Adam Korman, Bruce Joshua Daniel and Nicole Sandra McCabe. Korman, 34, is Australian-born, but lives and works in Tel Aviv, where he sells musical instruments.
Rudd said Australian intelligence services had been called in to investigate and said Canberra would retaliate against any nation found to be involved in forging Australian passports and the identities of citizens.
"Let me say loud and clear, we do not see this as a minor matter. We do not see this as a trifling matter," he said.
"Any state that has been complicit in use or abuse of the Australian passport system, let alone for the conduct of an assassination, is treating Australia with contempt and there will therefore be action by the Australian government in response."
(Reporting by Rob Taylor; Editing by Jeremy Laurence)