The Saudi security services have uncovered 33 spies working for the Israeli Mossad and Iranian intelligence for the past three years, Saudi news reports claimed on Sunday.
The Saudi Okaz newspaper reported that the ring consisted of 30 Saudi nationals, an Iranian, and an Afghani who were Iranian agents, as well as a Jordanian who worked for the Israelis. The two espionage agencies, the paper claimed, are “committed to the same cause.”
According to the paper, the suspects confessed to the charges and some of them said they had been trained in intelligence collection. It was also claimed that the Jordanian man had met with the prime minister of Israel, and members of the Iranian ring met with Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.
The Jordanian man, who was sentenced to nine years in prison, after which he is to be deported from the kingdom, allegedly contacted Mossad and offered his services online, the report claims. He later met with his recruiter and was paid.
The trial of the alleged Iranian spies is still ongoing. They were accused of setting up espionage cells, collaborating with Iranian military intelligence, and handing over top secret information about Saudi military deployment and defense systems.
According to the indictment, the defendants have been charged with high treason after they traveled to Iran to take part in military training with a view to undermining Saudi Arabia’s national security, political stability, and territorial integrity. They have also been charged with illegally carrying weapons in an attempt to disturb the peace, especially in the heavily Shi’ite area of Elkatif.
The report comes less than 48 hours after a Saudi military official told an Israeli newspaper that the two countries have shared interests and common enemies.
Dr Anwar Ashqi, a former top Saudi officer and head of the Strategic Studies Institute in Jedda told Yediot Ahronot newspaper that Riyadh will lobby Arab countries to normalize relations with Israel if Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announces that he accepts the Arab League’s peace initiative.