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U.S. Grand Jury Indicts Israeli Col. Sella for Conspiring to Spy on U.S. with Pollard

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Israeli Air Force Col. Aviem Sella was indicted Tuesday by a federal grand jury on three charges of espionage.

Sella was charged with conspiring to deliver classified U.S. military information to Israel with Jonathan Pollard, a U.S. Navy analyst who has confessed to spying for the Israelis, and several Israelis.

The charge carries a maximum of life imprisonment and a fine of $500,000. However, Sella is not expected to stand trial, as the U.S. extradition treaty with Israel does not include espionage.

Sella recently was promoted to commander of Israel’s second largest air base, a move which angered the U.S. State Department, which said it expected Israel to “call to account” anyone involved in the Pollard case.

Sella was Pollard’s first contact in providing Israel with classified national defense documents, according to the indictment. Sella was a graduate student in New York at the time. The other Israelis mentioned in the conspiracy, but not indicted, were Rafi Eitan, an Israeli counterterrorism specialist; Yosef Yagur, who at the time was science attache at the Israeli Consulate in New York; and Irit Erb, who was a secretary in the Israeli Embassy here.

Pollard and his wife, Anne Henderson Pollard, who is charged with helping her husband, are scheduled to be sentenced Wednesday.

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