Israel charges Arab man with spying for Hezbollah
According to the indictment, the man passed on information about the IDF, secret weapons stores, weapons manufacturing plants, as well as the security arrangements for President Shimon Peres.
A 26-year-old truck driver from Majdal Krum in the north was charged on Thursday with spying for Hezbollah, making contact with a foreign agent, conspiring to aid the enemy and belonging to an illegal group.
Milad Khatib was arrested a month ago. A gag order on the investigation was removed Thursday at the request of the Haifa District Attorney’s Office. The charges were filed in Haifa District Court.
According to the indictment, Khatib was in contact with a man named Barhan, a Hezbollah agent who operated on the terror group’s behalf in various European locations. The two allegedly met several times between 2007-2009 in Barhan’s home in Denmark, with all of Khatib’s expenses, including food, hospitality and entertainment, covered by Barhan.
During these meetings, the two discussed the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the resilience of the Israeli public during the Hezbollah missile attacks in the Second Lebanon War in 2006.
During these talks, Barhan would ask the accused questions relating to how the Israeli home front coped with the missile attacks, as well as where the missiles had done damage, and about the scope of the damage, both in Jewish towns and in Arab ones. The accused allegedly answered these questions, noting, inter alia, that missiles had fallen in Haifa and Carmiel.
Another encounter between the two allegedly took place in Turkey, where Barhan told the accused that he belonged to Hezbollah and asked Khatib to join the organization. According to the indictment, Khatib accepted the proposal and conspired to help Hezbollah in its war against Israel.
In addition, Barhan instructed the accused to carry out assignments for Hezbollah, including observing and passing on information about Israel Defense Forces bases in the north, secret weapons stores, weapons manufacturing plants and other strategic sites, the indictment said. The accused was also asked to collect information about Israeli Arabs that belong to Zionist political parties.
It was allegedly agreed that for security reasons, the information collected by the accused would not be passed to Barhan by electronic means, but only during face-to-face meetings. Last July, the two met again, and at that meeting allegedly Khatib gave Barhan information about strategic sites in Israel, including information about army bases and weapons stores, information about the Rafael Advanced Defense Systems plant and about Arab MKs.
After returning to Israel, the indictment said, Khatib collected information about the security arrangements for President Shimon Peres when he visited Majdal Krum in August. This was among the information Khatib allegedly planned to pass to Barhan during their next planned meeting in May 2013.
Kati’s attorney, Hussein Abu Hussein, said that the information Kati had allegedly passed on was not classified and does not constitute espionage.
“The accused is a trader who met someone in Denmark by chance, who started to ask him about all kinds of places that appear in the charge sheet, as if this is an indicator of espionage,” Abu Hussein said. “If they were classified, they wouldn’t be publicized either in the media or in the indictment.
“There isn’t any transfer here of information that people didn’t know,” he continued. “This is a very bland and strange indictment. It could be that making contact with the enemy is itself a violation, but they are trying to inflate the details.”
According to the remand request submitted to the court, Kati admitted to both the Shin Bet security agency and to the police that he had met with Barhan abroad, and that he had agreed to become active in Hezbollah, primarily by collecting information.
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