Mossad Agent in Training Plants "Bomb", Gets Nabbed By Israeli Police
A trainee spy for Israel's secret service agency Mossad was arrested by Tel Aviv police while taking part in a training operation, media reports say.
The young trainee was spotted by a female passer-by as he planted a fake bomb under a vehicle in the capital.
He was only able to persuade police he was a spy after being taken in by an officer for questioning on Monday.
The authorities have refused to comment on the story although Israeli media outlets have expressed their surprise.
'Just a drill'
Mossad does not tell local uniformed police about its training exercises.
The country's commercial Channel 10 said it hoped the agent's operatives were "more effective abroad", AFP news agency reported.
Niva Ben-Harush, the woman who reported the novice's suspicious behaviour to police, told Ynet News that 15 minutes after she made the call, Tel Aviv's port was closed and people evacuated.
She said police initially asked her to come with them and identify the suspect.
"But after a few minutes, they told me it was just a drill," she said.
Up to three agency employees were believed to have been suspended following the incident, Ynet reported.
It quoted the prime minister's office as saying it did "not respond to information about such activities undertaken by security agencies or attributed to them".
JERUSALEM — An apprentice spy for Israel's once vaunted Mossad overseas intelligence service was arrested by rank and file police during an abortive training exercise in the country's metropolis of Tel Aviv.
"Let's hope the Mossad is more effective abroad," commented Israel's commercial Channel 10 television as reports of the incident swept an aghast Israeli media on Tuesday.
The want-to-be James Bond was spotted on Monday planting a dummy bomb under a vehicle in the bustling commercial capital by a woman passer-by who swiftly alerted a passing policeman, the media reports said.
It was only after questioning at the the local police station that the rumbled trainee assassin managed to convince his captors that he was indeed a member of the famous spy agency.
The Mossad never warns Israel's uniformed security services in advance of its exercises in a bid to give the training an element of reality.
The recruit's arrest was the latest in a series of blunders to tarnish the agency's reputation over the past two decades.
In Cyprus, four suspected agents were detained by police during a bungled attempt to bug the Iranian embassy in 1991, and two more were jailed in 1998 for spying on a naval base in the south of the Mediterranean island.
The same year an Israeli was given a suspended prison sentence in Switzerland for trying to tap the phones of Lebanese nationals.
In 1997 in the biggest blunder of all, Mossad agents attempted to assassinate Hamas official Khaled Meshaal in an abortive operation that nearly led to the rupture of relations with peace partner Jordan and forced it to free the Islamist movement's then leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin in a conciliatory move.