Israel fears Iran 'recruiting Emirati and Bahraini agents': report

Israel fears Iran 'recruiting Emirati and Bahraini agents to target it': report
2 min read
10 December, 2020
With little time to screen tourists coming into the country, Israel could face security threats from Emirati and Bahraini agents working for Iran, a report has claimed.
The UAE launched tourist visas for Israeli citizens last week in a mutual agreement [Getty]
Visa-free travel between the UAE and Israel presents unprecedented challenges to Israel's intelligence agencies, an Israeli media report said on Wednesday, citing fears Iran will "recruit agents among Emiratis or Bahrainis".

The Haaretz report, which detailed perceived threats posed by the establishment of a hasty visa-waiver agreements, claimed Iran could easily hire Emirati and Bahraini agents to visit Israel under the guise of tourism.

Agents could also acquire passports of the two Gulf countries "on the black market" and be granted entry by pretending to be tourists, the report warned.

The potential scenario is based on past accounts of the Mossad and Shin Bet external and domestic intelligence agencies reportedly exposing Westerners sent to Israel by Hezbollah or Iran to carry out terror attacks or for intelligence gathering.

The UAE launched tourist visas for Israeli citizens last week after the two countries normalised relations in September and began talks on mutual tourism opportunities.

Shortly after the announcement, the Israeli government urged its citizens to avoid travel to both countries.

The travel advisory came after Iran threatened to attack Israeli targets following accusations that Israel was behind the assassination of its top nuclear scientist.

Read also: Scores of Israeli travellers 'trapped' in Dubai airport over visa issues

"In light of the threats heard recently by Iranian officials and in light of the involvement in the past of Iranian officials in terror attacks in various countries, there is a concern that Iran will try to act in this way against Israeli targets," said a statement issued by the prime minister’s National Security Council.

The Haaretz report stated that Israeli tourists lack "the complacency" to obey instructions and are "likely to be relatively easy prey for a kidnapping or assassination" by Iranian intelligence.

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