Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai
Police Commissioner Kobi ShabtaiMeir Vaknin/Flash 90

Senior members of the Department of Investigations and Intelligence at the Israel Police have begun preparing for the establishment of a state commission of inquiry to investigate allegations of the use of spyware on civilians, and have begun exploring legal options and holding talks with lawyers, Channel 13 News revealed on Tuesday.

A senior police official said that Commissioner Kobi Shabtai does not intend to back senior members of the Department of Investigations and Intelligence, and this is causing a crisis of confidence within the police.

The commissioner himself has shortened a planned visit to the United Arab Emirates and is expected to land in Israel on Tuesday night and convene an urgent meeting of senior police officers in the morning.

Earlier, Shabtai published a letter to the police and explicitly stated that no technological surveillance had been carried out against the names that appeared on the list published by the Calcalist newspaper.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on Tuesday evening held a discussion on the Pegasus affair and the police's alleged illegal use of the software to spy on Israeli citizens.

Before a decision is made on the mechanism for investigating the affair, Bennett requested that the 26 names mentioned in the Calcalist report be examined.

During the meeting Bennett was told that the police attempted to hack the phones of only three of the 26 and that apparently there was only one successful hacking of the three.