Former Mossad head Zvi Zamir has said that reports in Israel about Dr. Ashraf Marwan, Israel’s Egyptian agent who warned of the pending outbreak of the Yom Kippur War, led to his death.
“I have no doubt that reports published about him in Israel caused his death,” Zamir told Haaretz Thursday, in response to Marwan’s mysterious death in London on Wednesday.
The real damage, said Zamir, concerns the implications the case has for the future.
“There are serious concerns about our ability to recruit quality sources in the future,” the spy master said.
Zamir, who questioned Marwan during a secret meeting held in London on the Friday on the eve of the 1973 war, said he had no idea whether the Egyptian had committed suicide or had been assassinated.
“This is a matter to be investigated by the British police. But it is clear that the reports and the exposure of his name by Eli Zeira [who was head of Military Intelligence in 1973] have led to his death,” Zamir said.
Four years ago, Zamir and two retired senior Military Intelligence officers – Brigadier General Amos Gilboa and Colonel Yossi Langotsky – had asked Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz to initiate an investigation against Zeira. Mofaz refused the request and directed the three to the Attorney General’s office. The group filed a complaint with Menachem Mazuz but nothing came of it.
Recently, Supreme Court Justice Theodore Or ruled in arbitration over a law suit Zeira had filed against Zamir for slander. Or ruled that Zeira had indeed leaked the name of the agent to the press.
Zamir insisted that “the attorney general should indict Zeira. He has our complaint and he also has the evidence from the ruling of the arbitrator [Or].”
The former Mossad chief also said that, “The tragedy of this case is that the defense and intelligence establishment, including the defense minister and the law enforcement bodies, have proven to be impotent.”
Meanwhile, British police investigating Marwan’s death have described the circumstances surrounding it as “suspicious.” Marwan’s body was found on the sidewalk near his apartment in Carlton House Terrace in London.
At the time, he was in the apartment with his housekeeper who told police that she had not heard a thing. At approximately 4 P.M., she heard a knock on the door and someone told her Marwan’s body had been found on the sidewalk.
A gag order has been imposed on the investigation and investigators noted the testimonies of neighbors and acquaintances.
Marwan’s friends told Arab media that the 63-year-old had been upset in recent weeks, after Justice Or’s ruling had linked his name directly with Israeli intelligence. “He believed that there were official Egyptian sources behind this media campaign against him, and that behind it all there were plans to harm him,” the friends said.
During the past few years Marwan was busy writing his memoirs and said that the book would be titled “October 1973 – What took place.” His book was expected to shed light on his activities in the Egyptian leadership and on the claims that he was a Mossad agent. If he did address this issue in his memoirs, he probably denied the charges. The British police are likely to try to locate the manuscript.
A well-to-do businessman, Marwan had lived in London since the late 1970s. He was married to the daughter of the late Egyptian President Gamal Abd el-Nasser.