August 02, 2007

Israeli-Iranian ‘Intelligence War’ Gains Momentum

Mohammed Mar’i, Arab News

RAMALLAH, West Bank, 1 August 2007 — The “intelligence war” between Iran and Israel is gaining momentum, as both countries’ intelligence services are increasing efforts to recruit Hebrew and Persian speakers to their ranks, a report said yesterday.

According to the Israeli daily Yediot Ahronot, the Iranian authorities need Hebrew speakers to work as translators, intelligence agents and as part of its propaganda machine against Israel. The main source of Hebrew speakers is Palestinian students studying abroad or Palestinian resistance activists sent for military training in Iran and Lebanon.

The paper added that one of the most prominent centers for Hebrew studies is located at Iran’s Embassy in Beirut, where Hezbollah members learn Hebrew at the “Islamic Culture and Education Center.”

The embassy owns a vast library of Hebrew newspapers and books, including even children’s’ books. It was there that Hezbollah had trained, with the aid of Palestinians, a large group of fighters who were placed in charge of tapping Israeli communication systems, in a bid to collect intelligence on the “Zionist enemy” before and during the July War on Lebanon.

According to the Shin Bet (Israeli intelligence agency), Palestinian-Arab students studying out Israel are an attractive target for Hezbollah, because it is easier for the organization to recruit and train them abroad.

The Shin Bet said that a young Palestinian-Arab woman who was studying in Jordan was arrested at the Allenby Bridge border crossing, between the West Bank and Jordan, recently on suspicion of collaborating with Hezbollah.

The woman admitted in her investigation she was contacted by the group’s agents in Amman and was offered to serve as its agent in Israel.

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