NCO caught spying was an MI agent

Tracker denies allegations: "I'm innocent, proud to be an IDF soldier, and have never touched drugs."

beduin tracker 298 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
beduin tracker 298
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
The IDF non-commissioned-officer who allegedly spied for Hizbullah was an Israeli agent who worked for Military Intelligence's covert operations Unit 504, the indictment filed against him in the Northern Command Military Court revealed on Monday. Sgt.-Maj. Lovai Balut, 34, who was arrested a month ago, was charged on Monday with espionage, aiding the enemy in a time of war, contact with foreign agents and obtaining information to commit crimes. Channel 2 revealed Monday that the indictment, filed by the Military Prosecutor's Office, stated that Balut was actually an Israeli agent who worked under Unit 504 of Military Intelligence, which is responsible for activating agents in enemy countries. IDF sources said they were looking into the claim, which, if true, would most probably serve as Balut's line of defense in his upcoming trial. In response to the indictment, Balut told reporters in court: "I didn't spy and didn't deal in drugs." The prosecutor alleged that between December and February, Balut had cell phone conversations with two Lebanese civilians who were Hizbullah members. The prosecution claims Balut sent Hizbullah information regarding positions of IDF units and data on supplies, provisions, equipment, preparations and military orders. Balut's attorney Tami Ulman would not confirm or deny the claim, saying only that she had to wait to see the evidence collected against her client. But sources close to the case confirmed that Balut worked at one point for MI or the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) as an agent. In the indictment, Balut was also charged with sending additional information to a Nazareth resident expected to be tried on charges of smuggling drugs from Lebanon. According to the indictment, Balut also made contact with Lebanese citizens and residents of Ghajar, on the Israeli-Lebanese border, and residents of Nazareth to import and export dangerous drugs. The prosecution requested that Balut's remand be extended until the end of proceedings. The court issued a gag order on the information Balut allegedly disclosed to Hizbullah regarding movement of IDF units.