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Friday, November 20, 1998 Published at 11:27 GMT

World: Europe

Cyprus charges Israeli "spies"

Cyprus has charged two Israelis with spying, conspiracy to commit a crime and possession of banned surveillance equipment.

The two Israelis -- who were detained last week -- were accused of intending to harm the interests of the Cyprus Republic and collecting information related to the defence of Cyprus.

Spying carries a maximum sentence of ten years in prison.

The two men who have been named as Udi Argov and Yigal Damari have denied the charges and Israel says they were not acting against Cyprus.

Observers say the case has become particularly sensitive amid tensions over the expected delivery to Cyprus of a Russian-made missile defence system.

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