Israeli Arab charged with spying on Chief of Staff for Hizbullah
Israeli police arrested an Israeli Arab resident of Tirah three weeks ago on charges of gathering information on the schedule of Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi for Hizbullah, Israel radio reported Monday morning. According to the indictment issued by the Central District Prosecution, Lebanon's Hizbullah recruited 23-year-old student Rawi Sultani while on a political party Balad-sponsored youth trip to Morocco. After meeting a Lebanese national connected with the Shiite group, Sultani said he worked in the Kfar Saba gym where Ashkenazi used to work out.
Several months following the initial meeting, the Hizbullah operative invited Sultani to Poland to meet his brother to discuss providing information on the Israeli army’s soldiers and bases. The meeting ended with Sultani explaining ways to enter the gym, the hours Ashkenazi worked out, Ashkenazi’s workout attire and who accompanied him.
Following his return to Israel from Poland, Sultani allegedly stayed in contact with the operative who had given him an email and an encrypted disc for communication purposes.
Israel’s Shin Bet security agency and Police International Serious Crimes Unit uncovered Sultani’s plot through Facebook messages, emails and intercepted phone conversations. According to Israeli intelligence assessments, Hizbullahplanned to assassinate Ashkenazi in retaliation for the February 2008 assassination of Imad Mughniyah, an attacked Hizbullah blamed on Israel.