SYDNEY (JTA) — The man known as "Prisoner X" unwittingly caused the arrest of two Hezbollah supporters who were spying for Israel, a German magazine claims.
Ben Zygier, the Australian-Israeli who allegedly was a Mossad agent, leaked highly classified information in a botched attempt to recruit a spy for the agency, according to an expose in Der Spiegel.
Zygier, who had been returned from the field to a desk job at Mossad headquarters, was attempting to restore his reputation at the spy agency by attempting to turn an enemy into an ally, the magazine wrote.
In the end, however, Hezbollah managed to extract from him the names of two Lebanese men working for the Mossad — Ziad al-Homsi and Mustafa Ali Awadeh — who were arrested in 2009 and sentenced to 15 years in jail, the magazine said.
The report said Zygier started working with the Mossad in 2003 but was ordered back to Israel in 2007 because he was not delivering for the agency. He returned to Melbourne and operated independently in an attempt to restore his reputation, the magazine claimed. But as he tried to prove his bona fides to a man linked to Hezbollah who he wanted to become a double agent, he was the one who became the double agent, leaking the classified information.
On Dec. 15, 2010, the 34-year-old father of two was found dead in his Tel Aviv cell. Reports said he hung himself.