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Israelis probed over illegal sale of cruise missiles to unnamed Asian nation

Some 20 suspects have been investigated in recent months for allegedly illegally developing, manufacturing, testing and selling armed cruise missiles to an unnamed Asian country, the Shin Bet announces.

The identity of all of the suspects remained under gag order.

In a statement, the security agency says they include former defense industry employees, and the alleged crimes include offenses against the security of the state, violations of the law on the supervision of security exports, money-laundering, and additional economic offenses.

The Shin Bet additionally says the suspects received “considerable funds” in return for carrying out instructions from people connected to the Asian nation, and tried to conceal the financial transactions.

The investigation also reveals that the activities were carried out in secret in an attempt to hide the final destination of the missiles.

“This affair underscores the potential damage to the security of the state inherent in illegal transactions carried out by Israeli citizens with foreign elements, including the concern that such technology could reach countries hostile to Israel,” the Shin Bet says in a statement.

Israel’s defense exports are regulated according to a 2007 law that requires defense contractors to consider what and where Israeli weapons will be used for. The law is designed to prevent companies from knowingly selling weapons to countries that intend to use them to commit atrocities.

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