Dozens of Israelis, including former defense industry officials, are suspected of illegally trading advanced weapons with an unnamed Asian country, the Shin Bet investigation revealed.
At least 20 people were detained, who according to the security agency, developed, tested, manufactured and sold advanced loitering munition. Some of the tests were conducted in Israeli cities, the investigation found.
They were investigated in recent months on suspicion of committing offenses against the state’s security under the Defense Export Control Law and money laundering among others.
During the investigation, it emerged the suspects had received instructions from entities related to the Asian country, not considered hostile by Israel, in exchange for receiving massive funding and other benefits. The communication was conducted in secret in an attempt to disguise the entity for which the missiles were being developed.
"The investigation revealed a great deal of information about the methods used by foreign bodies vis-à-vis Israelis, including the use of concealment techniques in carrying out the transactions," the police and the Shin Bet said in a statement.
"The affair illustrates the potential damage to national security such transactions represent ... including the fear that this technology may spill over into countries hostile to Israel."
The investigation material has recently been submitted for examination to the Economics Department of the State Attorney’s Office. It has yet to be determined if all the suspects will be prosecuted for the offenses.
It is also unclear if the group was successful in providing a fully developed product to the unnamed country.
A gag order has been placed on other details of the investigation, including the identity of the suspects and the name of the country that ordered the weapons.