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Israel Charges Golan Heights Man with Espionage for Syria

RIA Novosti

00:30 31/07/2012

TEL AVIV, July 31 (RIA Novosti) - A Druze resident of the Golan Heights have been charged with spying for Syria, Israel’s Shin Bet internal security service said in a statement.

The Shin Bet said on Monday that Iyad Johari, 38, was arrested last month "on suspicion of maintaining contacts with Syrian intelligence and passing information on Israeli army deployment on the Golan Heights."

Johari, a resident of the village of Majdal Shams, studied medicine in Syria for the past 10 years and collected information about Israel’s army and military infrastructure in the Golan Heights during his summer vacations at home, the Shin Bet said.

The man is also suspected of attempting to recruit other Golan Heights residents as spies for Syria.

Israel occupied the Golan Heights in the 1967 Six-Day War with Syria and annexed the territory in 1981. The international community has not recognized the Israeli annexation.

The Druze community in the Golan numbers about 20,000 people. They follow a secretive offshoot of Islam whose adherents live primarily in Syria, Israel, Lebanon and Jordan.

Only a few Druze residents of the Golan Heights have accepted the offer of Israeli citizenship since the annexation.

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