Shin Bet: Iran Tried to Set Up ‘Spy Business’ in Israel

YERUSHALAYIM -
View of the Allenby Bridge crossing point over the Jordan River. (Moshe Shai/Flash90)

The Military Prosecutor has indicted a Jordanian Arab, who was born in Chevron, on charges of spying for Iran in Israel, the Shin Bet released for publication Thursday. Ta’ar Shafut, 32, was arrested on April 17 for attempting to set up what would essentially be a spy recruitment “business” for Iran. Under questioning by the Shin Bet and Israel Police, Shafut revealed his involvement in the ring, and what Iran hoped to accomplish with it.

Ta’ar Shafut. (Shine Bet)

Shafut got involved in the plot after meeting two Iranian agents in Lebanon several years ago. Together they worked out a deal in which Shafut would set up a business, the nature of which was not revealed, where he would recruit workers. The business would operate normally, but the true purpose was to recruit staff that Iran could send on missions, including spying on Israeli military and civilian installations, or to commit terror attacks. The company would also be used to transfer money from Iran to terror groups inside Israel, the Shin Bet said.

He was instructed to establish the business in Palestinian Authority-controlled areas, and to develop contacts with Israeli business officials. The Iranian agents offered him a sum of $500,000 as seed money for the company, with additional payments as needed as the project got off the ground. The Iranians also supplied him with communications equipment which would allow Shafut to surreptitiously contact his Iranian handlers.

Shafut first entered Israel in August 2018, where he did initial reconnaissance, and again in April of this year, with the intention of starting the business. He was arrested after he crossed the border from Jordan. In a statement, the Shin Bet said that the incident was another example of Iran’s constant efforts to establish a terror infrastructure in Israel, using whatever means it could.