THE powerful earthquake that rocked New Zealand's South Island unearthed an Israeli spy ring, security experts claim.
Israeli secret service Mossad has been accused of conducting an intelligence gathering operation in the country, which was allegedly interrupted when a van used by the cell was crushed by masonry falling from a building.
It is claimed that a man, who died inside the wreckage, had five passports in his possession, and three surviving Israelis who were in the vehicle fled the country within 12 hours.
New Zealand Prime Minister John Key confirmed last week that the government's Security Intelligence Service had launched a full investigation into the discovery.
But during a visit to the US, Mr Key dismissed the concerns saying no evidence was found that the people involved were anything other than backpackers.
He said his advice was that the man was found with only two passports, one of European origin.
'Spy ring' unearthed by quake (The Sun, 20 July 2011)
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"The Insider" mailing list article, 21 July 2011.