Israel’s military attaché leaves Russia over espionage claims

Israel’s military attaché to the Russian embassy in Moscow was arrested and deported, it wasrevealed after a gag order was lifted on Wednesday, with sources saying that the top Israel Defense Forces officer was questioned over espionage suspicions.

Colonel Vadim Leiderman was arrested during a May 12 meeting, in what appeared to be a violation of his diplomatic immunity. He was then questioned for a few hours, released, and subsequently deported.

In addition, Haaretz learned that Leiderman was questioned by the Shin Bet over suspicions he had contacted a foreign agent, suspicions of which he was subsequently cleared.

The IDF released a statement in response to Lederman’s deportation, saying that the IDF officer’s mission “was to end in two months,” adding that Israeli security “officials had made a thorough examination which found that espionage claims are unfounded.”

The unusual incident occurred during an official visit to Russia by the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, led by committee chairman and Kadima MK Shaul Mofaz.

The delegation met with senior Russian officials in the Russian parliament, as well as with Russian government officials, including the head of the Kremlin’s national security council.

Israeli officials were hard-pressed to explain the motivation for the arrest, estimating that it was the result of a power struggle between several Russian security services. Leide… >>>

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