Thursday, April 21, 2011

Israel claims arresting Australian working for Hamas

[ 20/04/2011 - 07:41 AM ]

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, (PIC)-- Israeli security apparatuses apprehended an Australian national of Saudi origin at the Ben Gurion airport on suspicion of espionage.
The Israeli Channel 2 said that the Australian citizen, Iyad Rashid Abu Arja, was indicted on Tuesday evening for being a member of Hamas and entering Israel "on a mission for the Islamic militant group".
The report said Abu Arja was trained in Syria and was sent to Israel by Hamas on a spying mission.
"According to police investigators, Arja has a background in computers, and apparently he was asked to aid in acquiring various technological devices for the purposes of encryption, photography, and guiding missiles", the report added.

Israel holds Australian accused of Hamas ties
Published yesterday (updated) 21/04/2011 14:35
JERUSALEM (AFP) -- Israel has charged a Palestinian-born dual Australian-Jordanian citizen with links to Hamas, after arresting the man as he tried to enter the country through Ben Gurion airport.

The arrest was made nearly a month ago, and the man appeared before a district court on Sunday, but his indictment was only made public on Tuesday.

A copy of the charges obtained by AFP named the man as Eyad Rashid Abu Arja, born in 1964 in the northern West Bank, and said he was detained on March 24.

He has been charged with "belonging to an illegal organization" and "activities on behalf of an illegal organization," in this case Hamas, which is considered a terrorist group under Israeli law.

Arja's Israeli lawyer, Leah Tsemel, said her client had "not effectively spied" for Hamas, despite allegations that he attempted to gather equipment and information for the group.

The indictment, which is based on Arja's confession, alleges that he had been in touch with the group since making contact with a Hamas cell during a trip to Syria in 2008.

Arja, a computer scientist, allegedly also received training on the use of automatic weapons during the trip, the indictment said.

Between 2009 and 2010, a Palestinian living in Saudi Arabia allegedly asked Arja "for his help in obtaining encrypted telephones and panoramic photo equipment, as well as technology for guiding missiles."

After expressing his intention to visit Israel, he was then tasked with photographing commercial centers, collecting maps and making contact with commercial businesses in Israel, the indictment alleges.