French official in J'lem arrested over 'serious' security issue

French national employed by French consulate in Jerusalem suspected of arms smuggling, arrested on Gaza border.

AFP,

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An employee at the French consulate in Jerusalem was arrested a few weeks ago by Israeli authorities and will appear in court for a "security" issue, sources close to the case said.

The French national, a man in his twenties, is due to appear before a court in southern Israel on Monday, they said.

The judge is expected to spell out the charges against him, the sources said, adding that they were "serious."

Israeli authorities suspect him of arms trafficking, one of the sources said.

The man was arrested as he crossed the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip, which is ruled by the Islamist terrorist movement Hamas.

He held a series of roles for the French consulate, including that of driver, carrying out regular trips between Jerusalem and Gaza.

"We take this case very seriously and are in close contact with the Israeli authorities," said a spokesman for the French Embassy in Tel Aviv.

"He has benefited and continues to enjoy the consular protection" provided to French nationals, said the spokesman without providing more details on the case.

The Israeli foreign ministry, justice ministry, intelligence agency and police declined to comment.

In 2013, a French consulate employee was detained after attempting to use an official vehicle to smuggle a large amount of gold, tobacco and checks into Israel from Jordan.


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