Monday, August 31, 2009

Israeli Arab used membership of same gym to spy on Chief of Staff

DEBKAfile Special Report
August 31, 2009, 12:33 PM (GMT+02:00)

Rauy Sultani, 23, from the Israeli Triangle town of Tirah was brought to trial before the Petach Tikva district court Monday, Aug. 31, accused of being recruited by the Lebanese Hizballah to spy on the Israeli chief of staff Lt. Gen. Gaby Ashkenazi. Sultani is accused of grave offenses against state security, passing information to the enemy and contact with a foreign agent.According to the indictment, he was recruited by Hizballah operative Salman Harb at a summer camp run by the Israeli-Arab Balad party in Morocco in August 2008.

Sultani told Harb that he was perfectly placed to spy on the Israeli army chief because they belonged to the same gym in Kfar Saba. He said he was familiar with Ashkenazi's movements and daily schedule.

Told to do nothing at that point, in December he was instructed by his instructor to travel to Poland and meet up with "Sammy Harb," his recruiter's brother. The Israeli Arab was then assigned with gathering information on IDF bases and troops. But first he was thoroughly grilled on the routes of access to the gym, Ashkenazi's regular workout times, his gear and the state of security around him at those times.

The next day he was given an email address for corresponding with his controller together with an encryption disk.

On his return to Israel, the accused spy regularly reported to his controller, transferring coded messages by telephone and email. In December, Israeli police investigators picked up the correspondence and launched an inquiry. Sulmani was then put under arrest and questioned. He confessed to spying on the chief of staff and passing information to Hizballah in Poland.

The security surrounding Lt. Gen. Ashkenazi has been tightened following this and another breach: A soldier serving at general staff headquarters in Tel Aviv was discovered last month to have stolen the general's credit cards from his office and passing them on to criminals who used them on a spending spree.

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