Presidential Guard member convicted of espionage in West Bank

The Palestinian Authority government in the West Bank has announced a death sentence against a former member of the Presidential Guard who is said to have spied for Israel. Palestinian Authority prosecutors accused the unnamed 28-year-old man, resident of Hebron, of supplying sensitive information to Israeli intelligence agents since being recruited as an informant in 1997. The prosecution said that the information supplied to Israeli agents by the former Presidential Guard member resulted in –among other things– the capture by Israel’s Security Agency (Shin Bet) of Rateb Abayet and Adnan Abayat, both commanders of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, the secular armed wing of Fatah. The espionage conviction comes as Palestinian group Hamas, which controls the Gaza strip, is examining “extensive shortcomings” in its intelligence department’s response to Israel’s recent invasion. The group is reportedly preparing to launch a widespread probe that will be “extremely critical […] of almost every decision taken by battlefield commanders during the 22-day assault”. Among several military casualties suffered by Hamas during the Israeli invasion are said to be “around 50” of the group’s senior explosives specialists.

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Expert news and commentary on intelligence, espionage, spies and spying, by Dr. Joseph Fitsanakis and Ian Allen.

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