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A Polish appeals court on Thursday upheld a lower court's decision to hand over to Germany an alleged Mossad agent wanted in the slaying of a Hamas leader.

The decision means that the alleged agent, known as Uri Brodsky, must be handed over to Germany within 10 days. The decision is final and cannot be appealed.

Brodsky was arrested in Warsaw in June on a European warrant issued by Germany and charging him with espionage and helping to falsely obtain a German passport. The passport was allegedly used in connection with the Jan. 19 slaying of Hamas commander Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai.

A three-judge appeals panel upheld a July ruling by Warsaw's district court that Brodsky be extradited to Germany on the forgery charges solely. That means he can only be tried in Germany for forgery and not spying, which would spare Israel a possibly embarrassing espionage trial. It would also mean a lesser penalty if he is found guilty.

The lower court's ruling was appealed by Brodsky, who hoped to be freed and returned to Israel, and by state prosecutors seeking to have him extradited on both forgery and espionage charges.

Still, Thursday's decision appeared to be a compromise with something for both sides: Poland will extradite him to Germany but has ensured that he will face lesser charges.

"The decision of the court seems to be satisfying to all sides," said Anna Mika-Kopec, Brodsky's defense lawyer.


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