London Police Probe Death of Yom Kippur War Mossad Agent

Two weeks ago, a court ruled that agent Ashraf Marwan's identity was leaked by 1973 war's MI chief.

London police are investigating the death of Dr. Ashraf Marwan, a senior Mossad agent who operated in Egypt prior to the Yom Kippur War, whose body was found near his London home Wednesday.

Some reports maintain Marwan fell off the balcony of his home, while other accounts claim he collapsed on the street near his house.

Two weeks ago, Haaretz reported that a court ruled Major General (Res.) Eli Zeira, who headed the Military Intelligence during the war in 1973, leaked Marwan's identity, placing his life in danger.

The ruling ended a protracted legal dispute between Zeira and Zvi Zamir, who served as head of the Mossad during the war.

In 2004, Zeira filed a libel suit against Zamir, after Zamir had publicly accused him of betraying Marwan's identity.

Retired Supreme Court Justice Theodore Or, who served as an arbitrator in the case, confirmed that Zeira had indeed exposed the agent's identity.

The court ordered Zeira to pay Zamir NIS 30,000 and to cover his full arbitration expenses.

The affair began 14 years ago, with the publication of Zeira's book, titled "Myth Versus Reality: The Yom Kippur War - Failures and Lessons." In his book, Zeira countered the findings of the Agranat Commission, which the government had appointed to investigate its performance and that of the defense establishment before and during the war. The committee found that Zeira was responsible for the MI's failure to give an advance warning of the war.

In his book, Zeira maintained that the omission was a result of a sting operation by an Egyptian agent, who had allegedly acted as a double agent. Zeira claimed that agent, whose name he did not reveal, withheld information of the Egyptians' preparation for war, taking advantage of his status as a reliable and trustworthy source.

Nevertheless, Ashraf Marwan's name was leaked to the foreign press, and then quoted n Israel by Haaretz in 2003. In a television interview to Channel 1, Zeira reiterated his version that the Egyptian was a double agent.

Following the interview, Zamir accused Zeira of leaking the agent's name to many journalists, and compared Zeira's statements in the interview to the actions of Mordechai Vanunu, who was convicted of treason after he had betrayed the secrets of what the foreign media term "Israel's nuclear weapons program."