Israeli officials forged the Irish passports used in the murder of a top Hamas operative, it has been revealed.

A report in Dublin by the Irish Passport Service notes that eight forged passports were used and Israeli officials had asked to see the Dublin plant where security-enhanced passports are made just a month before the killing.

Up to 27 people were said to be involved in the murder of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in a Dubai hotel on January 19. Three fake Australian passports, four French, 12 British, one German and eight Irish passports were used in the killing.

The genuine Irish passports – whose numbers had been used in the forged passports – had been through frontiers in Europe and the United States, but not in the Middle East.

The Irish Independent has reported that the Israeli Foreign Service went to the Department of Foreign Affairs at the end of last year to say it was very  impressed by the new Irish passports and their in-built biometric components.

The Israelis requested they be allowed see how the features were built in, but were turned down.

 “After the killing in Dubai, one of the bosses here said whoever refused the Israelis getting into the passport plant should be promoted,” a source within the department said yesterday.

Fine Gael’s foreign affairs spokesman Billy Timmins stated: “I am calling on the minister to publish the report’s findings, so there can be transparency in regard to what exactly happened and what steps need to be taken to prevent a re-occurrence of such a serious lapse.”

In the parliament on Thursday, Foreign Minister Martin said two of the eight forged Irish passports were those of children.