Israel lifts gag order on Arab arrests


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel has lifted a gag order on the arrest of two prominent Israeli Arabs for espionage.

Omar Sayid of the Balad movement and Amir Makhoul, director general of the charity Ittijah-the Union of Arab Community-Based Associations, were arrested last week on charges of spying and contact with an agent of the terrorist group Hezbollah, the Israel media reported Monday after the military censor lifted a gag order.

The arrests had been reported on Web sites; JTA reported the arrest of Makhoul on May 6.  

Makhoul was arrested in his Haifa home on May 5 in front of his wife and children, according to Haaretz. His home was searched and several computers confiscated.

Sayid was arrested in April, Haaretz reported.

The Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security service, and the Israel Police’s international crimes investigation unit are investigating the affair.

Israeli Interior Minister Eli Yishai had signed an April 21 order banning Makhoul from leaving the country for two months because his "exit poses a serious threat to the security of the state." 

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