The Israeli army lifts the veil on the mysterious death in prison


Israeli Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi speaks during the graduation ceremony for Israeli Air Force pilots at Hatzerim Air Base in southern Israel on June 27, 2019 .REUTERS/Amir Cohen/File Photo

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JERUSALEM, June 9 (Reuters) – An Israeli military intelligence officer who died in prison deliberately endangered a “top secret”, the top general said on Wednesday, lifting the lid on a mystery gripping the country.

News of the officer’s death on May 17 surfaced this month. His name is banned from publication. The military said he served in a technology unit and was charged with security offenses that did not involve spying for foreign powers.

“He committed crimes of the utmost gravity. He committed them knowingly, he committed them deliberately, for reasons I don’t know how to describe,” Lt. Gen. Aviv Kohavi, chief of the armed forces, said in a statement. a speech broadcast on Israeli television.

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The officer was imprisoned “to protect a big secret that he almost compromised, something that we shut down at the last minute,” Kohavi said. The death – which the army described as following a sudden illness – is being investigated, he added.

In 2010, a member of Israel’s Mossad spy service committed suicide while imprisoned in solitary confinement on suspicion of leaking secrets. Authorities had not registered him under his real name while he was behind bars, leading local media to dub him “Prisoner X”.

The deceased officer, Kohavi said, was not another “Prisoner X” because the officer had been imprisoned under his real name and had been in contact with family, friends and other inmates.

Kohavi, a former head of military intelligence, said the officer served under him, calling him “excellent”.

The army said the officer confessed to some of the allegations against him, adding that he “acted independently, for personal reasons, without ideological, nationalistic or financial motives”.

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Writing by Dan Williams Editing by Mark Potter

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