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Last Updated: Wednesday, 29 September, 2004, 04:16 GMT 05:16 UK
NZ deports Israeli 'spies'
Kelman and Cara admitted being part of a crime gang
Cara and Kelman pleaded guilty but denied being Mossad agents
Two suspected Israeli spies have been deported from New Zealand after they finished jail terms for illegally trying to obtain a passport.

Uriel Kelman and Eli Cara got six-month sentences in July, but denied working for Israeli intelligence agency Mossad.

New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark severed all high-level diplomatic relations with Israel, demanding an apology before they could be restored.

The Israeli government has never commented on the men's status.

A third man involved in the case, Zev Barkan, is thought to have fled the country.

'No doubt'

Kelman and Cara were sentenced to six months in jail on 15 July, and released early in line with normal practise.

Both still have appeals pending against their convictions.

Kelman arrived at court in disguise
Kelman and Cara denied being Israeli agents
They were also ordered to pay $33,000 each to the Cerebral Palsy Society, as the man whose identity they tried to use to get the passport was a sufferer.

Ms Clark has already said she has "no doubt whatsoever" that they were Israeli agents.

They deny this but have both admitted to being part of an organised criminal group trying to illegally obtain the passport.

Ms Clark has sought an explanation from Israel and imposed diplomatic sanctions.

The decision to break off ties was followed by a series of attacks on Jewish graves in the capital, Wellington.

Mossad has a history of trying to obtain foreign passports for its agents.

In October 1997, two Mossad assassins with forged Canadian papers were arrested in Jordan following a botched attempt to kill Hamas political leader Khaled Mishal.



SEE ALSO:
NZ Jewish graves attacked again
06 Aug 04  |  Asia-Pacific
NZ 'evidence' against Israel
20 Jul 04  |  Asia-Pacific
New Zealand-Israeli row deepens
16 Jul 04  |  Asia-Pacific
New Zealand jails Israeli 'spies'
15 Jul 04  |  Asia-Pacific
Report slams Israel spy failures
28 Mar 04  |  Middle East


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