Ben Zygier, the alleged Mossad agent also known as Prisoner X who committed
suicide in Ayalon Prison in 2010, was arrested for passing sensitive information
to Hezbollah that led to the arrests of two informants within the ranks of the
Shi’ite organization, Der Spiegel reported on Sunday.
Siad al-Homsi and
Mustafa Ali Awadeh were arrested in May 2009 for spying for Israel in Lebanon
and sentenced to long prison terms after Zygier passed their names to a
Hezbollah operative, according to the report.
Zygier was enlisted into
the service of the Mossad in 2003 and eventually served the organization by
entering the ranks of European companies doing business with Iran and Syria, the
German newsweekly reported.
Zygier was eventually demoted and ordered to
return to Israel in 2007 after his work failed to meet the Mossad’s
expectations. He left the organization in 2008 to return to his native
Australia, Der Spiegel reported.
The Australian newspaper quoted Fairfax
newspapers, which carried out the joint investigation into Zygier with Der
Spiegel, as reporting that Zygier’s contacts with the Hezbollah operative were
part of a “rogue” operation by which he tried to get back into the Mossad’s good
graces following his demotion.
According to the report, the alleged
Mossad agent met with the Hezbollah operative in hopes of turning him into a
double agent. The Hezbollah operative doublecrossed him, sending information on
the two informants back to Hezbollah headquarters in Beirut.
given the Hezbollah operative information on the informants, Israel’s top two
Lebanese assets, to prove he had access to valuable knowledge, according to the
Fairfax reported that one of the informants, Homsi, had told
Israel that he could lead them to Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah.
report added that Zygier was carrying memory discs with further information at
the time of his arrest that he may have intended to give to the Hezbollah
operative as well.
Once arrested, Zygier quickly confessed to passing on
the intelligence and was facing a 10-year prison sentence, Fairfax reported,
according to the Australian.
The story of “Prisoner X” came to
international attention after a report by the Australian Broadcasting Company
claimed that he had been recruited by Mossad and then held in isolation in
Israeli detention until his death in 2010.
Zygier was arrested in
February 2010 for unknown security reasons.
A judicial inquiry in Israel
found that Zygier, 34, hanged himself in December 2010 with a sheet tied to the
bars over a window in the bathroom of his heavily guarded
Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr ordered an investigation into
the case last month, saying he would ask Israel’s government for details of how
Zygier, a father of two, died in a supposedly suicide-proof cell.
has said he was detained under an alias to avoid serious harm to national
Reuters contributed to this report.
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