(AFP) – A man identified by media as an Australian-Israeli Mossad agent and found hanged in a Tel Aviv jail had passed secrets to Hezbollah before his death, an influential German magazine reported Sunday.
News weekly Der Spiegel said Ben Zygier, a man known as “Prisoner X” who died in 2010 in an allegedly suicide-proof cell, had handed tips to the Lebanese militant group that led to the arrest of at least two people spying for Israel.
After conducting its own “internal investigations”, the report found that Zygier had started working for Mossad in 2003, investigating European companies doing business with Iran and Syria.
It said Zygier — who was raised in Melbourne but moved to Israel about a decade before his death — was ordered back to Israel in 2007 because his bosses were unhappy with his work.
In 2008 he took a leave of absence, Spiegel said, and returned to Melbourne to finish his studies after trying to recruit new agents for Israel in a bid to restore his standing with his bosses.
In the process he came in contact with Hezbollah supporters, Spiegel said, and while trying to convince them to work for Mossad, disastrously spilled highly sensitive information.
This included the names of Lebanese nationals Ziad al-Homsi and Mustafa Ali Awadeh, who were arrested in May 2009 on charges of spying for Israel and later sentenced to several years of hard labour.
The report said Israeli security authorities had told Zygier after his arrest that they wanted to make an example of him and demanded a prison sentence of at least 10 years.
Zygier was found dead in his cell in December 2010 at the age of 34.