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Three Israel spy cells busted, Egyptian papers report

CAIRO - Agence France-Presse | 12/24/2010 12:00:00 AM |

The confessions of an Egyptian accused of spying for Israel has led to three espionage cells being dismantled in Lebanon and Syria, where an agent was executed in November, Cairo newspapers said Friday.

The confessions of an Egyptian accused of spying for Israel has led to three espionage cells being dismantled in Lebanon and Syria, where an agent was executed in November, Cairo newspapers said Friday.

Tareq Abdul Razzak, the 37-year-old owner of an import-export business, is accused of having spied for the Jewish state together with two wanted Israelis.

Egypt, which has a 1979 peace treaty with Israel, informed Lebanon and Syria of his activities in recruiting agents after Abdul Razzak's arrest in May, al-Masri newspaper said, quoting a security source close to the investigation.

The suspect has allegedly confessed that his two Israeli contacts had tasked him with making visits to Damascus with a fake passport and identity under the guise of business trips.

The aim of the missions was to deliver sums of money to a Syrian holding a "sensitive" post with the security services.

Al-Shuruk daily said Abdul Razzak has provided investigators with copies of reports he had passed on to Israeli intelligence from a Syrian chemist working for the security services in connection with a Syrian nuclear program.

The Syrian expert had been spying for Israel for 13 years, according to the confessions. He was executed in Syria last month, said al-Shuruk, which did not give sources for its report.

On Sept. 6, 2007, Israel launched an air raid on northern Syria that destroyed an alleged secret nuclear reactor.

The Egyptian trader is to be tried in Egypt's High Security Court on charges of spying for Israel and recruiting agents to report on telecoms secrets in Egypt, Lebanon and Syria, a judicial source said on Monday.

Arrest warrants have been issued for his two Israeli accomplices, the source said, without giving a trial date.

Abdul Razzak is accused of supplying Mossad between 2007 and 2010 with the names of potential recruits employed in the telecommunications sectors in Egypt, Lebanon and Syria.

According to a court statement, Abdul Razzak's first contact with Mossad was in 2007, when he received an email while looking for work in China.

The same year he met the Israeli agents in Thailand, where the Egyptian was asked to set up an import-export business back home as a cover for his real work with Mossad.

Abdul Razzak also set up a website that offered telecommunications jobs in Egypt, Syria and Lebanon, with the aim of looking for more potential recruits, the statement said.

In Lebanon, more than 100 people have been arrested on suspicion of spying for Israel since April 2009, including telecoms employees, members of the security forces and active duty troops.

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