'Israeli warships being built by company owned by Lebanese defense minister'

The information was revealed in a letter that was sent to Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit by MK Erel Margalit (Zionist Union).

December 21, 2016 22:10
2 minute read.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani greeting Lebanese Defense Minister Samir Moqbel (L) at the presiden

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani greeting Lebanese Defense Minister Samir Moqbel (L) at the presidential office in Tehran . (photo credit: AFP PHOTO / IRANIAN PRESIDENCY WEBSITE)


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A company building new warships for Israel is partially owned by the family of Lebanon's Defense Minister, Samir Mouqbel, who is allegedly connected to Hezbollah and Iran, Channel 2 reported on Wednesday.

The information was revealed in a letter that was sent to Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit by MK Erel Margalit (Zionist Union). Margalit discovered the information from various sources while in Europe.

"The fact that one of the owners of the same company that is building Israel a warship is the defense minister of a country considered an enemy, and according to reports works with Hezbollah and Iran, is a security situation much more serious than normal," Maraglit wrote.

Margalit said that three senior Defense Ministry officials pushed to change the name of the shipyard from Abu Dhabi Mar to German Naval Yard Kiel in order to conceal the identity of the real owners.

The real owners are Lebanese businessmen and brothers, who live in Abu Dhabi, Akram and Aiksander Safa.

The Defense Ministry has not responded to the report.

Earlier in December the Defense Ministry said that the construction of four Israel Navy corvettes at a shipyard owned by an Abu Dhabi-based company does not jeopardize any classified information because all combat and internal systems will be installed in Israel.

“The contract to buy protective ships was signed with the German company, with direct involvement of the German government, which is funding a third of the cost of the deal,” the Defense Ministry said in a statement to The Jerusalem Post. “Prior to the signing of the contracts, the defense establishment’s director of security carried out checks with German government officials to confirm that no classified material from the project will be transferred to any unauthorized body that has not been approved as such.

“It is important to note that the German shipyard builds only the body of the ships, all of the systems will be installed in Israel,” it added.

The ministry was responding to a report by Yediot Aharonot that the German shipyard where the new vessels are being constructed is operated by Abu Dhabi MAR.

Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, also has no formal diplomatic ties with Israel, and Israeli passport holders are prohibited from entering the country.

The construction of the four “Saar-6” class warships, which are due to arrive in Israel by 2020 to defend Israel’s offshore natural gas reserves, was agreed to in a €430 million deal between Israel and the German company ThyssenKrupp in 2015. ThyssenKrupp reportedly sub-contracted the work to German Naval Yards Kiel, which was sold to Abu Dhabi MAR in 2011.

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