Octogenarian Egyptian spy dies in Tel Aviv

Egyptian woman who 'spied for Israel' and converted to Judaism dies in Tel Aviv
3 min read
24 November, 2021
An Egyptian woman who spied for Israel for seven years died this week in Tel Aviv aged 84 and was buried according to Jewish traditions.
Inshirah Moussa was part of a spy cell for Egypt [Getty]

CAIRO: An Egyptian woman who spied for Israel for seven years after the 1967 war died this week in Tel Aviv aged 84 and was buried according to Jewish traditions, according to local Egyptian news reports.

Inshirah Moussa, who was born Muslim, was part of an espionage cell run by her Palestinian husband Ibrahim Shahin and involved her three sons.

All three spied for Israel until a year after the 1973 war between Israel and neighbouring Arab states, when Cairo regained a considerable part of the occupied Sinai Peninsula.

On 5 October 1974, a mass trial of the cell members was held after they were apprehended just over a month earlier, state-run Al-Ahram newspaper reported at the time.

Shahin said he was promised $1 million by Mossad if he informed Israel about Egypt's military preparations for the war, the report added.

Egyptian intelligence had reportedly discovered a radio device manufactured by the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the most advanced in the world at that time, that could send a message in just 12 seconds.

Between 1967 and 1974 when the family spied for Israel, they sent data about the Egyptian society as well as pictures of sensitive Egyptian army sites.  

Shahin and Moussa were found guilty and were sentenced to death by hanging on 24 November 1974.

The older son was sentenced to five years in prison and the younger two siblings were transferred to a juvenile facility.

Shahin was executed in 1977 while Moussa was released as part of a prisoner exchange deal with Israel that involved her three sons.  

Moussa moved to Israel and changed her and her sons' names to Hebrew ones after converting to Judaism.

In November 1989, she broke her silence and accused Israeli officials of being unappreciative of the services she and her family offered Israel.

Moussa claimed she and her husband warned her handlers against an imminent military operation by the Egyptian army on 6 October 1973 yet the tip-off was ignored by them.

In 1994, prominent journalist Abdel-Rahman Fahmy wrote the TV programme "Al-Soqout Fi Be'r Sab" ("The Fall in Saba' Well"), artistically portraying the act of treason by the Shahin family based on a case file by Egyptian intelligence.

“Saba’ Well” was the area where the couple was first recruited by the Mossad in El-Arish, the capital city of North Sinai, after being occupied by Israel.  

The TV series, starring legendary actress Esaad Younis and late actor Sa'eed Saleh, enjoyed substantial audience at that time.