Ex-Mossad official denies Zygier compromised intelligence operation
May 9, 2013 2 Comments
By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
A former Mossad official has dismissed as “nonsense” suggestions that an Australian-born Israeli spy, who killed himself in 2010, had been jailed for inadvertently compromising an Israeli secret mission. Ben Zygier was an officer in Israel’s covert-action agency Mossad for several years before he was placed in solitary confinement following his arrest in Israel, in February of 2010. Known to the outside world only as ‘Prisoner X’, he allegedly killed himself in his cell a few months later. In March, German newsmagazine Der Spiegel alleged that Zygier was arrested by Israeli intelligence after contacting a Lebanese Hezbollah operative without Tel Aviv’s authorization. The Australian-born spy was allegedly trying to recruit the operative on his own initiative and without permission from his superiors. In order to prove his Mossad credentials, Zygier is said to have given the man several names of Israel’s double agents operating inside Hezbollah. But the Lebanese recruit surrendered Zygier’s information to Hezbollah, which promptly arrested many of Israel’s informants inside the organization. Those arrested included Ziad al-Homsi, who at the time was believed to be one of the Mossad’s most lucrative assets inside the Lebanese militant group. On Tuesday, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation said that, at the time of his arrest in Lebanon, al-Homsi was preparing to assist the Mossad in recovering the bodies of three Israeli soldiers that had been killed in Syria during the 1982 Lebanon War. According to ABC, al-Homsi, who was recruited by the Mossad in 2007, was preparing to recover the remains of the three men, Yehuda Katz, Zvi Feldman, and Zachary Baumel. The report claims that, upon al-Homsi’s arrest, the Mossad had to scrap the recovery operation, which was considered one of its “most important” projects at the time. But, commenting on ABC’s claims, Rami Igra, former head of the Mossad’s MIA and Captive Persons Division, told The Jerusalem Post that any allegation of a connection between Zygier and the three soldiers’ remains was “pure nonsense”. Igra told the Israeli newspaper that “the claim that an operation would be launched to retrieve [the bodies] is not only empty, it is science fiction”. Additionally, Igra noted that the Australian-born Mossad spy was facing over 20 years in prison at the time of his death. “That kind of charge is for treachery, not an imaginary operation”, said Igra.