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Did irresponsible journalism lead to murder?

The former head of Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency, Zvi Zamir, has said that reports by irresponsible Israeli journalists about Dr. Ashraf Marwan, the Egyptian Mossad agent who tipped Israel off about the pending outbreak of the Yom Kippur War in 1973, may have led to his death.

Marwan, 63, was found dead outside his home in London’s upscale Mayfair neighborhood on Wednesday. Scotland Yard has opened an investigation into his mysterious death, which they have called “suspicious”.
As son-in-law of the late Egyptian President Gamal Abd el-Nasser, Marwan was one of the best-connected agents Israel has ever had in Egypt. Nasser had made him a roving ambassador after which Marwan began dabbling on his own in arms deals. By the time of his death this week, Marwan had reportedly become a billionaire.
His tip-off to the Mossad is credited with helping spare Israel’s destruction after the surprise attack by several Arab armies on Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish calendar.
Marwan was first identified as an Israeli agent by the Vanity Fair writer Harold Bloom in his book “Eve of Destruction,” in 2004. But Bloom’s allegations were confirmed in the Israeli daily Ha’aretz two weeks ago following a libel case between two former Mossad agents, and then reprinted in Arab media after that.
“I have no doubt that reports published about him in Israel caused his death,” Zamir said yesterday. “There will also now be serious concerns about our ability to recruit quality sources in the future,” the spymaster added.
Marwan’s friends are blaming “Egyptian elements” for his death.

Tom GrossTom Gross is a former Middle East correspondent for the London Sunday Telegraph and the New York Daily News.

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