Israel says it arrested Iranian spy operating in West Bank

Israeli forces arrested an alleged Iranian spy earlier this year who had been operating in the West Bank, the Shin Bet security service reveals, amid escalating tensions with the Islamic Republic over the collapsing nuclear deal.

According to the Shin Bet, a Jordanian national, Thaer Shafut, was sent into the West Bank last year “on behalf of Iranian intelligence to carry out missions that were meant to establish a network in Israel and the West Bank, which would be used for covert operations for the Iranians.”

He entered Israeli territory in July-August 2018, after receiving instruction from Iranian operatives in Lebanon and Syria, the Shin Bet says.

He was told to establish business ties in Israel and the West Bank in order to form a base for this Iranian intelligence infrastructure.

Shafut was arrested in April, though this was kept gagged under the military censor until Thursday.

Just before his arrest, Shafut began making contact with people inside the West Bank with the goal of establishing this spy network, the Shin Bet says.

He was indicted on June 10 on charges of contacting a foreign agent, contacting an enemy organization and attempting to bring enemy funds into the region.

The end of the gag order comes hours after an American drone was shot down by an Iranian surface-to-air missile in what the US military says was international airspace.

— Judah Ari Gross

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