Australia today ordered an inquiry into reports earlier this week that Prisoner X – a man who committed suicide in a top security Israeli prison in 2010 - was an Australian citizen.
ABC television said that an Australian Mossad agent named Ben Zygier, who also used the aliases Ben Alon and Ben Allen, was found hanged in the top security Ayalon prison, months after arriving at the jail. It was the first time he had been identified, and so far no details of his supposed crimes have been disclosed. The Israeli government on Tuesday convened a meeting of media editors to try and stop any details emerging.
The inquiry will focus on the suggestion that some foreign ministry officials – possibly diplomats based at the embassy in Tel Aviv – had been made aware in 2010 that Mr Zygier was being held in jail in Israel, but had not passed on the information to officials in Canberra.
“DFAT [Australia’s department of foreign affairs and trade] had advised that it was unaware of Mr Allen's detention in Israel,” a spokesman said.
“DFAT has now advised that some officers of the department were made aware of Mr Allen's detention at the time in 2010 by another Australian agency.”