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Mossad head working to free Israeli couple jailed in Turkey

i24NEWS

clock 2 min read

Israel's former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu (C) is flanked by outgoing Mossad chief Yossi Cohen (R) and incoming Mossad head David Barnea at a ceremony in Jerusalem on May 24, 2021.
Amos Ben-Gershom (GPO)Israel's former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu (C) is flanked by outgoing Mossad chief Yossi Cohen (R) and incoming Mossad head David Barnea at a ceremony in Jerusalem on May 24, 2021.

Mossad Director David Barnea is reportedly in talks with Turkey’s intelligence agency to release the pair

Several of Israel’s top officials, including the head of the Mossad - Israel’s intelligence agency - are working to secure the release of an Israeli couple detained in Turkey.

The couple, Natalie and Mordy Oknin, were charged with espionage after taking photos of the residence of Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Israel denies the pair are spies, and is attempting to repatriate them.

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Mossad Director David Barnea is reportedly in talks with his counterparts in Turkey’s intelligence agency to release the two, and Ankara said it was examining Israel’s statement on the matter.

A lawyer for the couple, Nir Jaslovic, visited Mordy Oknin in prison on Monday after Turkey approved the request.

Jaslovic reported Oknin burst into tears upon hearing Hebrew for the first time in days.

He asked the legal representative “Why was I imprisoned?” and was very distressed, according to Ynet.

Oknin’s wife, Natalie, is imprisoned in a separate facility, and Jaslovic intends to visit her as well.

The incident is increasing tensions between Israel and Turkey, with many officials alleging that it could evolve into a severe diplomatic dispute, according to reports from Israel’s media.

“I spoke with the family yesterday and we are doing everything to bring this issue to a solution,” Israel’s Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said Monday.