Two Israeli nationals facing a raft of charges -- including espionage and terrorism -- kicked off Monday in a Saudi court, according to local media reports.
The Al-Riyadh newspaper reported that the defendants were Israeli citizens of Arab origin who had allegedly entered the kingdom to collect information at the behest of Israel’s Mossad spy agency.
According to the newspaper, charges against the pair include plotting to threaten the security of the annual Hajj pilgrimage, which this year will begin in August.
Prominent Saudi daily Okaz reported that the defendants had entered Saudi Arabia -- using Jordanian passports -- with the stated aim of performing the annual Umra pilgrimage.
The men reportedly stand accused of “cooperating with the Israeli Mossad to spy on the kingdom and of planning to carry out terrorist acts -- to be attributed to the ISIS terrorist group -- during the upcoming Hajj pilgrimage”.
The case is the first time for Israeli nationals to be formally tried by the Saudi judiciary.
Five years ago, a Saudi court slapped an Arab expatriate living in the kingdom with nine years behind bars after convicting him of spying for Israel.
Like all Arab states except Egypt and Jordan, Saudi Arabia does not maintain formal relations with Israel.
This article has been adapted from its original source.
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