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Last Updated: Tuesday, 7 December, 2004, 16:12 GMT
Israeli Arab held as 'Iran spy'
Mohammed Ghanem appears in court in the Israeli town Petah Tikva on 7 December
Mohammed Ghanem appeared in court in the Israeli town Petah Tikva
Israeli security forces have arrested an Arab Israeli citizen on suspicion of spying for Iran.

Mohammed Ghanem was arrested last month but a gagging order prevented his detention being reported until Tuesday, when he was remanded in custody.

Mr Ghanem, 56, from Baka al-Gharbiya, by the West Bank in northern Israel, is suspected of aiding an enemy state and contacts with a foreign agent.

He is also accused of trying to recruit Arab students for a spy cell.

Received money

Mr Ghanem is himself believed to have been recruited by an Iranian intelligence agent while on a trip to Saudi Arabia several months ago, Israeli security sources told the French news agency AFP.

He is suspected of receiving money from Iran which he then passed on to the families of suicide bombers and Israeli Arab members of terror groups.

Mr Ghanem is also accused of passing information about Israel to Iranian intelligence.

He was arrested on 9 November following an investigation by Israeli police and the Shin Beth domestic security agency, according to the website of the Israeli newspaper Haaretz.

In October, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon accused his country's arch-foe Iran of recruiting Arab citizens for the purpose of subversion through the Islamic Movement, a political organisation.

Israel has previously accused Lebanon's Hezbollah organisation, which is closely allied to Iran, of infiltrating the Palestinian territories and training Palestinian militants.

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