Israeli cleanser arrested for espionage

By Kamel Daoud, CNN • Updated 19th April 2011

Israeli police say they have arrested a cleaner on suspicion of attempting to unlawfully obtain information about Israeli and U.S. military activity in Gaza and the West Bank.

Sami Amar, 46, worked as a cleaner in Minister of Defense Ehud Barak’s private residence in Tel Aviv, police said in a statement Monday.

After weeks of questioning Amar, who worked for a cleaning company providing services at the Defense Ministry, was arrested Sunday on charges of espionage and illegally obtaining state secrets, police said.

An employee at the U.S. consulate in Tel Aviv described Amar as a homeless man who came to work for the consulate at night.

In January, another Israeli cleaner from the same company, Yaakov Handler, was jailed for two years after admitting spying for Iran, when he was 28.

It was unclear what, if any, impact the latest arrest may have on Israel’s ability to share information with its ally, the United States.

A U.S. State Department spokeswoman told CNN there was no comment about the arrest.

Amar is scheduled to appear in a Tel Aviv courtroom Tuesday.

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