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An Egyptian court sentenced in absentia six Israelis to life in prison for allegedly spying for Israel.

A North Sinai Criminal Court sentenced three Egyptians and six Israeli nationals to life in prison over charges of spying on Egypt for Israel, Egyptian media reported on Wednesday.

The case was launched in 2013 and became publicly known as the “Ovadia” spy cell, named after Danny Ovadia, an Israeli military intelligence or Mossad officer accused in the case, along with three other Israelis.

They were all sentenced in absentia.

Egyptian defendants Ouda Talab Ibrahim and Salama Hamed Abu Jrad were present in court, while Mohamed Abu Eyada Abu Jrad was sentenced in absentia, as well as two Arab Israelis named Abdullah Selim Ibrahim Al-Raqiba and Omar Harb Abu Jrada.

Egypt claims the ring provided Israeli intelligence with information on, “Egyptian national security and the security situation in the Sinai Peninsula,” such as the location of military installations. They were also convicted of holding meetings with Israelis in exchange for money.

The alleged spy ring broke up in 2014, and an Egyptian intelligence report at the time said Israel was operating 36 locations in the Sinai Peninsula to recruit informants and gather information on local military actions.

Egypt has accused and sentenced Israelis to prison terms for alleged espionage on Israel’s behalf in the past.

By: United with Israel Staff