Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Unused Passport

Five Irish nationals did not travel to Dubai to kill a senior leader of Hamas.

The passports used by the secret agents who went to Dubai to assassinate Mahmoud al-Mabhouh were very good forgeries that used real identification numbers.

Of course, if anyone at Dubai's airport had done anything to verify the name and number on the passports, the game would have been up. The names and photographs on the forgeries didn't match up to the people who held the real passports.

There are five Irish people who never once traveled to the Middle East who had their identities stolen, to a limited extent. Their passport numbers were lifted and used on fake passports, with different names and pictures, but the fact that those passport numbers are now in Interpol's line of sight means those five people can't travel anywhere.

Bad news for the two who had plans to travel this weekend. If the Department of Foreign Affairs hadn't notified them in a timely manner, they most likely would have been promptly arrested at the airport and tossed into a truly Kafka-esque situation.

On the other hand, the forged British passports that were also used in the caper were identified as having been stolen from British nationals living in Israel.

That part of the story has a far more interesting twist, with its hint of Mossad intrigue at the local level. But why did they mix in five Irish passports as well?

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