Israeli Arab suspected of spying

Court to indict Galilee resident for passing information to the Hizbullah.

hizbullah flag 298.88 (photo credit: AP [file])
hizbullah flag 298.88
(photo credit: AP [file])
Escaped Israeli Arab convict revealed locations of IDF bases to Hizbullah By MARGOT DUDKEVITCH Security forces arrested western Galilee resident Arwa Hassan Ali, 22, an escaped convict who fled to Lebanon while on furlough from prison, after he was caught sneaking into Ghajar, on the Lebanese border last month. He had previously been caught and held captive by the Hizbullah for eight months. According to details released for publication by the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) on Thursday, Ali revealed locations of IDF bases, details of the electric power and telephone grids in Nahariya, and important facilities and municipal buildings located in the Nahariya area. He also divulged details about two of his relatives who serve in the Israel Police, as well as details about a doctor and lawyer from his home village. The gag order imposed on the investigation was lifted after Ali appeared before the Haifa District Court, where he was charged with revealing classified information to Hizbullah operatives, and violating the terms of his furlough from prison. Ali, a car thief who was serving a sentence at the Carmel Prison, planned his escape on April 5 last year, while on a 48-hour furlough. Prior to leaving the prison, he took a map of northern Israel and Lebanon from the prison library and received details from fellow inmates regarding the best crossing point into Lebanon. He snuck into Lebanon via Ghajar, and soon met up with a local Lebanese man. He informed the man that he had escaped from an Israeli Prison, and was invited to his home. Shortly after arriving there, two unarmed men arrived at the house and identified themselves as members of Hizbullah. They immediately questioned him for personal details and as to the reason he was in Lebanon. Ali later told Shin Bet officials that in the next eight months he was held captive by Hizbullah, and was interrogated every few months by four investigators. He admitted to Israeli security officials that he had revealed details concerning the locations of army bases in the North, public institutions and buildings, as well as power and telephone installations near Nahariya. He also gave them details of relatives who serve in Israel Police. On December 26, Hizbullah guards informed him that he was going to be returned to Israel and asked him to pack his belongings. He was then blindfolded and taken in a car and driven to a site near the border fence. He was escorted by two Hizbullah gunmen and taken to a point near Ghajar where he was told to cross the fence. His entry was undetected, but shortly after he was arrested by a police narcotics officer who handed him over to the Shin Bet. Security officials noted that the border village of Ghajar has turned into an attractive breeding ground for terror activity. Fenced off on the Israeli side, the northern section is open and Lebanese citizens - as well as Hizbullah - enter freely. This means that while IDF troops can monitor who enters and leaves the village on the Israeli side, the rear of the village lies in Lebanese territory and allows anyone to enter, free of scrutiny. Ghajar was part of an area captured from Syria in the Six Days War. Village residents have Israeli identity cards and receive services from the state. With the IDF withdrawal from Lebanon in May 2000, the village was cut in half by a UN delineated line. The Lebanese refused to allow Israel to build a security fence around the northern part of the village. Last month, Jaris Jaris, the former head of the Fasuta local council in the Upper Galilee, was arrested on suspicion of spying for Iranian intelligence.