Report: Zygier Took Part in Mabhouh Hit, Tried to Sell Mossad Spy Names to Dubai

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A Kuwaiti newspaper reports Thursday that Ben Zygier, until recently known as Prisoner X, was a Mossad agent who took part in the assassination of Hamas operative Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai in January 2010 and later tried to sell the names of Mossad spies to the Dubai authorities.

According to al-Jarida, "Western sources" said that after Zygier participated in the killing of Mabhouh, a top terrorist in the Hamas organization, he turned to the Dubai authorities with names of Mossad agents. In turn, Dubai agreed to protect Zygier. However, Mossad agents discovered his hiding place, kidnapped him and tried him in Israel, where he later died.

If confirmed, this series of events would explain in part how the Kuwaiti authorities produced so much intelligence on Mabhouh's killers so soon after the assassination.

The Israeli government confirmed on Wednesday that an Australian-Israeli spy did indeed commit suicide while being secretly held under maximum security in 2010.

Israel asserted that despite the secret nature of the man's detention, his case was reviewed by the courts several times and he was given access to counsel, including a prominent human rights lawyer.

The official statement issued by the justice ministry states that the man's "family was notified of the arrest immediately," "he was duly represented in all the proceedings against him by attorneys Roi Belcher, Moshe Mazor and Boaz Ben-Zur," and "the prisoner's legal rights were observed at all times."

Avigdor Feldman, described by YNet as one of Israel's leading attorneys, apparently served as counsel to the prisoner, and said,

I'm the last lawyer who saw him alive. They asked me to see him and a day after that he was gone. When I saw him, I saw no signs that he was going to kill himself. He sounded rational and he asked pertinent legal questions."

Double agents are every intelligence agency's worst nightmare, and it is quite believable that Mossad would make every attempt to keep such a case out of the media for as long as possible.

Zygier, who was born in Australia, moved to Israel in 2000, served in the IDF and later changed his name to Ben Alon. Media reports indicate the Zygier later traveled throughout the Middle East and befriended Arab students when he returned to Australia in 2009 to pursue a master's degree.

According to Bloomberg, the Australian government was informed in February 2010, one month after the Mabhough hit, that Zygier was in an Israeli prison. In December 2010, Israel informed Australia that Zygier had committed suicide in his jail cell.

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