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Egypt to Try Mossad 'Spies' in Absentia

Five alleged officers from the spy agency and three Egyptians will stand trial but none of them will be in the courtroom.
By AFP and Gil Ronen
First Publish: 2/2/2014, 6:24 PM

MOssad
MOssad
Israel news photo

Five alleged officers from Israel's Mossad spy agency and three Egyptians will stand trial in absentia on Wednesday in an Egyptian court, on charges of spying for the Jewish state, judicial sources said.

Egyptian prosecutors have accused the eight of espionage and supplying Israel with information impacting Egypt's national security, the sources said on Sunday.

The trial is expected to open with none of the defendants present, the sources said, because the alleged Mossad officers are "on the run" while it is not clear if the three Egyptians had been arrested.

The Egyptian suspects hail from Rafah, on the border with Gaza, they said, adding that the trial will be held in the Suez canal city of Ismailiya.

The trial of a Jordanian engineer accused of having spied for Israel is also underway in Egypt.

In October 2011, Israel freed 25 Egyptians in exchange for the release of a US-Israeli called Ilan Grapel, who had been held in Cairo for four months on spying charges.

Grapel was apparently simply a naïve individual who got in trouble after he flew to Egypt during the revolution there, out of curiosity, a sense of adventure and idealism, as well as a love of Arabic culture.

Whether or not the suspicions against the alleged Mossad agents are based in fact, they are a step up from previous Arab spy suspicions against sharks and vultures.

Egyptian activist and blogger Hossam al-Hamalawy noted after the Grapel case that protesters in Egypt have been accused of being Israeli spies since the student riots of 1968. Abdel-Alim Mohamed, an expert on Israeli affairs at Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies, said: “The problem is that we have this mythical image of the Mossad, that it is this incomparable intelligence service, but we ignore that it has many failings and it isn’t as strong as it used to be.”