2 nabbed for spying for Hizbullah
Prominent Israeli Arab activists suspected of contact with agents.
Two of the 26 suspected Hizbullah members. Photo: Associated Press
leading Arab Israeli political activist and a second man were arrested
in recent weeks by the Shin Bet [Israel Security Agency] on suspicion of
spying for Hizbullah and conspiring with enemy agents, the Israel
Police revealed on Monday.
The two suspects have been named as
Ameer Makhoul, 42, head of Ittijah (the Union of Arab Community-Based
Associations) - an umbrella group for Arab NGOs in Israel - of Haifa,
and Omar Said Abdo, 40, of Kfar Kana, an activist for the Balad Arab
Makhoul was arrested on May 6 and Abdo was taken
into custody on April 24, security services said.
"They were arrested on suspicion of severe security offenses," police
added. "The investigation, which is ongoing, is being coordinated with
the attorney general [Yehuda Weinstein] and the Israel Police's Head of
Investigations Branch, Cmdr. Yoav Seglovitch, as well as the state
prosecution," police said.
The details were revealed following the partial lifting of a media gag order
which was in place on all details of the investigation. The media-ban
and details of the arrests had spread through the Israeli Arab
community in recent days, and reignited a furious debate on secrecy and
Some of the details from the latest investigation have been reported on
blogs and Internet sites based abroad.
Attorney Amar Taha, Abdo's nephew, said in an interview with Army Radio, "This is just another Shin Bet shenanigan. In the end, they'll have made a mountain out of a molehill, and he will go home innocent."
"We believe that he is not at all related to this niche, and that they've shown up at the wrong address," he added.
Makhoul is the brother of Issam Makhoul, who served as an Arab Knesset
Member on behalf of the Hadash-Ta'al party.