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State closing case against former intel chief over outing of spy

Eli Zeira, known for failed assessment ahead of Yom Kippur War, was accused of revealing the identity of Israel’s most senior source in Egypt 40 years ago

Ashraf Marwan. (Screenshot from "The Israeli Connection," via YouTube)
Ashraf Marwan. (Screenshot from "The Israeli Connection," via YouTube)

The State Attorney’s Office will reportedly close the case against former Military Intelligence chief Eli Zeira, who was accused of revealing the identity of Mossad agent Ashraf Marwan during the Yom Kippur War, Channel 2 reported Sunday.

The story dates back 40 years ago to the early 1970s, but the case was opened in 2004 when Zvi Zamir, director of the Mossad from 1968 to 1974, accused Zeira of revealing the identity of Israel’s most senior intelligence source in Egypt at the time of the war and causing serious damage to Israel’s ability to recruit foreign agents.

Marwan, who died in London under mysterious circumstances in 2007, remains an enigmatic figure. It has not been established beyond doubt whether he was an Israeli spy or an Egyptian double agent.

Zeira, who headed Military Intelligence in the run up to the Yom Kippur War, is best known for his ill-judged assessment that Egypt and Syria would not attack in 1973, despite intelligence reports to the contrary.

Among the reasons for its decision to close the case, the prosecution reportedly cites the 84-year-old Zeira’s age, the passage of time and the wider implications of prosecuting so senior an official.

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