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Trial begins in Saudi Arabia for alleged Israeli Mossad agents Open in fullscreen

The New Arab

Trial begins in Saudi Arabia for alleged Israeli Mossad agents

Saudi Arabia does not officially recognise Israel. [Getty]

Date of publication: 1 May, 2018

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Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of Islam and site of its holiest shrines, does not officially recognise Israel.

A court in Saudi Arabia opened the trial of two Jordanians accused of spying for Israel's Mossad intelligence agency, local media reported.

The charges under consideration by the Specialised Criminal Court include plotting a terrorist attack during the Haj pilgrimage four years ago and supporting the Islamic State group, Saudi-owned al-Arabiya reported.

The prosecution called for them to receive a strict punishment to deter others in the future.

The suspects - reportedly of Palestinian origin - are also accused of entering the kingdom on Jordanian passports under false names and remaining in Saudi Arabia after their visas expired.

Saudi Arabia - the birthplace of Islam and site of its holiest shrines - does not officially recognise Israel.

It has maintained for years that normalising relations hinges on an Israeli withdrawal from the occupied Palestinian territories captured in the 1967 Arab-Israeli war.

In the past two years, a series of reports of covert meetings between Israeli and Saudi officials have given an impression of a rapprochement between the two states, who share a common foe in Iran.

Last month, Saudi Arabia opened its air space for the first time to a commercial flight to Israel, a move hailed by Israeli officials as historic move following two years of efforts.

Critics fear this is a step towards normalisation.

Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said in April that Israelis were entitled to live peacefully on their own land.

Reports this week said that the crown prince said Palestinians must "agree to come to the negotiations table or shut up and stop complaining".

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