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Israeli assassins likely to pose as Canadians: expert

OTTAWA (CBC) - Israel is reported to have reactivated a unit known to send agents posing as Canadian tourists to foreign countries to carry out assassinations.

The Kidon Unit—named for the Hebrew word for bayonet—is part of Israel's overseas intelligence service, the Mossad.

Canadian travel documents have been a favourite of the Mossad for decades, and some in Canada say that practice is likely to resume, no matter what Israel promises.

At a time of heightened tension in the Middle East, Mossad agents posing as Canadians may expose real Canadians to attacks by groups who fear they're on Mossad's hit list, says a former CSIS agent, Michel Juneau-Katsuya.

It might also mean more scrutiny for Canadians travelling abroad.

"These people [the Mossad] have very active covert operations all around the world, so more scrutiny, more suspicions, maybe more surveillance against Canadians, will make travel more difficult," says Juneau-Katsuya, who's now a security consultant with the Northgate Group.

The last time Mossad agents were caught using Canadian passports was in 1997. Two hit men had tried and failed to inject a lethal poison into the neck of the director of the Hamas press office in Amman, Jordan.

Canada recalled its ambassador in protest. It was the third time Mossad agents had been caught posing as Canadians, and the third time Israel promised to stop.

Foreign Affairs spokesperson Reynald Doiron says it was important for Canada to tell the world that its passports were being used without its permission.

"There was no cooperation whatever between the Canadian and Israeli governments, in that Canada did not supply the passports," says Doiron.

He adds that the passports found in 1997 were determined by the RCMP to be counterfeit.

The resumption of the Kidon Unit means the use of Canadian passports is likely to resume, no matter what Israel has said in the past, says Juneau-Katsuya.

In defence of the Kidon Unit, Israel says "pre-emptive" assassinations are necessary to protect it from attacks.

 


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