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Israeli official caught in sting plotting to 'take down' British MPs

The official Shai Masot was allegedly plotting to ‘take down’ outspoken supporters of Palestinian cause.

world Updated: Jan 08, 2017 15:19 IST
Rezaul Hasan Laskar
Rezaul Hasan Laskar
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
israeli official in sting,Shai Mascot,Al Jazeera
A framegrab from Al Jazeera footage shows Israeli official Shai Masot. (Screengrab)

A senior official of the Israeli embassy in London has been filmed during a sting operation purportedly plotting to “take down” British MPs who are outspoken supporters of Palestinian cause, including foreign office minister Alan Duncan.

Shai Masot, who described himself as an officer in the IsraelDefence Forces and was a senior political officer at the mission, was caught on camera by an undercover reporter of Al Jazeera while talking to Maria Strizzolo, who works for the department for education's Skills Funding Agency.

The Israeli ambassador to the UK, Mark Regev, has apologised to Duncan. An Israeli spokesman said Regev believed “the embassy considered the remarks completely ­unacceptable”.

The Israeli embassy also said Masot would be “ending his term of employment with the embassy shortly”.

During a meeting at a restaurant, Masot spoke to Strizzolo about purportedly acting against MPs who cause “problems” for Israel. “Can I give you some MPs that I would suggest you would take down,” he said.

A framegrab from Al Jazeera footage shows Israeli official Shai Masot and Maria Strizzolo. ( Screengrab )

Strizzolo asked him which MPs he was referring to and Masot replied, “The deputy foreign minister.”

Masot agreed with Strizzolo’s contention that foreign secretary Boris Johnson was “solid” on Israel but added: “You know he (Johnson) is an idiot but so far he became the minister of foreign affairs without any kind of responsibilities.”

The Israeli official’s secretly filmed conversations and his profile on social media platforms such as LinkedIn described him as a major in the Israeli Defence Forces between 2004 and 2011 and showed that he is still employed by the IDF as deputy head of the international organisations sector.

He also said he had applied for the post of “head of the foreign affairs department of the intelligence department”.

Strizzolo, who earlier served as chief of staff to MP Robert Halfon when he was deputy chair of the Conservative Party, deleted her Twitter account after Al Jazeera aired footage from the sting operation on Saturday.

The footage from the six-month undercover operation will feature in a four-part series to be broadcast from January 15.

First Published: Jan 08, 2017 15:19 IST