Australian citizen admits to spying for Hamas


An Australian citizen pleaded guilty to charges of spying for Hamas.

Eyad Rashid Abu Arja, who is Palestinian-born and holds dual Jordanian citizenship, was detained in Tel Aviv in March on charges of “activities on behalf of an illegal organization”.

Hamas is classified as a terrorist group under Israeli law.

Under the terms of a plea bargain submitted to an Israeli court, Arja admitted to espionage for the Gaza-based group while on a visit to Israel.

He had been coerced into the mission by Hamas operatives in Saudi Arabia, his attorney, Leah Tsemel, said. “He’s a person who bumped into activists of the Hamas and attempted, or rendered some very, very shallow services to them. He’s in no way a terrorist,” she told the Australian Broadcasting Corp. Monday.


Arja, a computer scientist, is expected to be sentenced on Jan. 5 to 30 months in prison.

The indictment cites photographing commercial centers, collecting maps and making contact with businesses in Israel, according to an Agence France Press report.

Australian man arrested in Israel for spying for Hamas


An Australian citizen was arrested by Israel and charged with spying for Hamas.

Iaad Rashid Abu Arja, 46, a computer expert, was indicted in Petah Tikvah District Court last week, accused of being recruited by the banned Islamic organization.

Israeli prosecutors allege Abu Arja, who holds dual Australian and Saudi citizenship, was asked to provide intelligence and surveillance information on key technology companies in Israel. He also holds a Jordanian passport.

Hamas believes the Israeli companies are developing technology to intercept missiles fired from Gaza.

The indictment, a copy of which was obtained by Reuters, says: “The main purpose of the visit to Israel was to see how easily he gets in and out. He was asked as a computer man to meet local companies (involved in developing Israel’s anti-missile technology), to photograph them and to get maps with directions to these companies.”

It also alleges he contacted Hamas while living in Australia in 2007 and went to Syria in 2008 for military training. Last year he allegedly went to Saudi Arabia where he met a senior Hamas official who asked him to test whether he could easily enter Israel.

Abu Arja was arrested at Ben Gurion Airport when he tried to enter the country last month. He is due to appear in court in June.

Hamas’s military wing is proscribed in Australia.

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