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Israeli Public Security Minister Avi Dichter has cancelled a trip to Britain over concerns he could be arrested on war crimes allegations, his spokesman said.

“Minister Dichter has cancelled this trip following threats of him being arrested in Great Britain. This is an intolerable situation,” Barak Sari said.

minister-avi-dichter.jpgIsraeli Public Security Minister Avi Dichter, seen here in 2003, has cancelled a trip to Britain over concerns he could be arrested on war crimes allegations. (AFP/File/Yoav Lemmer)

Dichter was due to travel to Britain to participate in an “after Annapolis” conference to focus on the aftermath of the November U.S. conference at which Israeli-Palestinian peace talks were revived.

But he cancelled the trip on the recommendation of the foreign ministry, which said it was possible that a leftist organization could file a complaint against him that could lead to an arrest warrant.

As head of Israel’s Shin Beth internal intelligence agency, Dichter was involved in the 2002 Israeli attack in Gaza in which an Israeli warplane dropped a one-tonne bomb on the house of the head of Hamas’s military wing, Salah Shehade, killing him, his bodyguard and 15 civilians, many of them children.

Britain allows legal investigations against foreign nationals provided that the defendant’s own country is unwilling or unable to handle such complaints.

In May 2006 the Israeli army scrapped plans to send one of its generals to a course at a British military academy over fears he could be arrested on war crimes allegations.

In September 2005, a retired Israeli general, Doron Almog, refused to leave a plane at London’s Heathrow airport after learning a warrant had been issued for his arrest over his time commanding troops in the Gaza Strip.


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