Israeli-Arab political activist Amir Makhoul was charged with espionage, assisting an enemy at a time of war and maintaining contact with an enemy agent.
The other suspect in the case, Omar Abdo, was charged with maintaining contact with an enemy agent and transferring information that could be used by the enemy.
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Makhoul was recruited as a spy for Hizbullah and transferred, via a
specially-designed computer encryption system, strategic intelligence
information on Israeli security services to the Lebanese guerrilla
Makhoul, brother of a former Knesset member and head of Ittijah, a
network for Arab organizations in Israel, was arrested in late April
together with Omar Abdo, another suspect in the case.
During his interrogation with the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency),
Makhoul confessed to having met a Hizbullah operative during a trip to
Denmark in 2008. During the meeting, Makhoul agreed to become an agent
for Hizbullah in Israel and to begin collecting what was described as
"strategic intelligence" on Israeli security services.
He later received an encryption system so he could transfer the
information by computer to Hizbullah.
Per request of his Hizbullah handlers, Makhoul, the Shin Bet said,
transferred names and details of additional men and women throughout
Israel who he believed could also serve as spies for Hizbullah.
Makhoul received a list of topics that he was asked to collect
intelligence on. During his period of operations, Makhoul allegedly
transferred details and the exact location on two Shin Bet facilities in the North,
including the security arrangements surrounding them, reporting on security arrangements at Shin Bet head Yuval Diskin's house as well. He
also provided Hizbullah with details about the Rafael defense industry
facility in the North as well as a Mossad office located in northern
He was also asked by Hizbullah to collect information on the security
surrounding the convoys of Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Prime
Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, although, according to a senior security
official, he did not succeed.
Hizbullah also tried to use Makhoul to gather accurate information on
the effect its rocket attacks against Israel had during the Second
Lebanon War in 2006. The group was mostly interested in the targets that
were hit by the statistical Katyusha rockets of which it fired some
4,000 into Israel during the month-long war.
This was done as part of Hizbullah efforts to more effectively utilize
its rockets in a future war.
During his interrogation, Makhoul said that the connection with the
Hizbullah operative was made by Hassan Jaja, a Lebanese businessman who
lives in Jordan and who he has been in touch with for a number of years.
In 2008, Makhoul accepted Jaja's proposal to meet with the Hizbullah
operative in Denmark.
Makhoul said that he took extra precaution after a number of other
Hizbullah agents were captured in Israel.
The other suspect in the case, Omar Abdo, allegedly gave Hizbullah the
names of two Israelis who he believed would be willing to spy on Israel
on behalf of the group. He told the Shin Bet that he allegedly met two
years ago with a Hizbullah operative in Egypt and during the meeting was
asked to transfer the names.
Abdo said that he refused to provide additional information but
continued to maintain contact with Jaja and met with him a number of
times. Before he was arrested, Abdo was asked by Jaja to transfer a
message to Makhoul to immediately leave Israel.
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