Thursday, May 18, 2006

Israeli minister wanted by FBI to visit Cuba

Israeli minister wanted by FBI to visit Cuba
Monday, May 15, 2006

JERUSALEM, Israel (AFP): Israeli minister Rafi Eitan, a former Mossad
spy who is wanted by the FBI, said Sunday he would visit Fidel Castro in
Cuba next week in a move that could anger the Jewish state's chief ally.

The 79-year-old minister of pensioner affairs told AFP he would be going
to Cuba strictly for private business.

"I will be visiting Cuba next week for private business," said Eitan,
who entered parliament as leader of the newly-formed Pensioners party
and became a minister for the first time following the March 28 elections.

Israel has no diplomatic ties with Cuba due to pressure by the United
States which has placed an embargo on the communist regime of President
Fidel Castro since the 1950s.

Eitan, who became a successful businessman after he quit Israel's Mossad
intelligence service, has several largescale farms in Cuba and is a
personal friend of Castro.

As a Mossad operative, Eitan handled Jonathan Pollard, a US marine
analyst who handed thousands of top secret documents over to Israel in
the mid-1980s.

Pollard was sentenced to life in prison. As Pollard's handler, the the
Federal Bureau of Investigation issued an arrest warrant against Eitan.

A senior Israeli government official told AFP that "a private trip by a
member of the government does not require the cabinet's approval".

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