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Libya frees Israel spy suspect: reports

An Israeli man held in Libya since March on suspicion of spying has been released and has arrived in Vienna, Israeli media reported.

world Updated: Aug 09, 2010 08:47 IST

An Israeli man held in Libya since March on suspicion of spying has been released and has arrived in Vienna, Israeli media reported on Monday.

The website of the daily Haaretz said Rafael Hadad, who holds Israeli and Tunisian nationality, had been taking photographs of formerly Jewish-owned properties for an Israel-based Jewish historical society when he was arrested.

The Jerusalem Post said he arrived late Sunday night in Vienna, where he was met by Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman. The paper's website had a picture of the two men on the tarmac.

The y-net website said that negotiations for his release had been going on for months, led by Lieberman and negotiated by an Austrian businessman, Martin Schlaff, said to be a friend Saif al-Islam Kadhafi, son of Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi.

It said that Lieberman had been holidaying in his native Moldova when Schlaff called him to Vienna.

Israeli media said Hadad was expected to fly home on Monday.

Haaretz said reports of his detention had until now been blocked by censorship, without specifying whether Israeli or Libyan.

It said that Israel asked the United States, France and Italy to intervene to convince Libya that Hadad was not a spy but "a civilian who had shown a lapse in judgement."

Israeli officials were not immediately available for comment.

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