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Canada furious over passport flap

Anger built in Canada on Friday over the apparent use of stolen or forged Canadian passports in a bungled assassination attempt by alleged Israeli agents. Ottawa hinted at further retaliation against the Jewish state.

The Canadian government, declaring the use of its passports by foreign agents to be unacceptable, recalled its ambassador to Israel, David Berger, for consultations. It also said it was weighing further steps to emphasize its displeasure over the affair.The opposition Reform Party in parliament called for visa, trade or intelligence sanctions that would force Israel - or at least its Mossad intelligence service - to sit up and take notice.

"To get the message across, I'm not sure that recalling an ambassador is enough," declared Bob Mills, Reform's foreign affairs spokesman.

Canadian Foreign Minister Lloyd Axworthy called Berger's recall "a fairly serious step" but would not be drawn on what further measures might be taken.

"We think it is absolutely unacceptable for Canadian passports to be used for these kinds of purposes, and . . . we want to take appropriate measures," Axworthy told journalists.