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Israel Defence Minister's housekeeper accused of Iran-related espionage attempt

Jerusalem, Nov 19 (IANS) Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz's housekeeper has been arrested and charged with offering an Iran-affiliated hacker group to spy on Gantz, Israeli security officials have said.

In a rare statement, Israel's Shin Bet security service said Omri Goren, a 37-year-old Israeli citizen of the town of Lod in central Israel, attempted to collect information on Gantz in order to sell it to Iran, Xinhua news agency reported.

Goren worked as a cleaner at Gantz's home for several years, according to his indictment, a copy of which was seen by Xinhua. In late October, he contacted the Iran-linked Black Shadow hacker group through the Telegram messaging app and offered them to supply information from within the Minister's home.

He also suggested that the group would provide him with a malware that he would install on Gantz's computer.

According to the indictment, Goren allegedly took photographs of the Minister's desk, computers, a tablet, a locked safe, a shredder, papers with IP numbers, a package with a label listing the souvenirs that Gantz received as Israel's military chief, framed photos of the family, municipal tax bills etc.

Gantz was informed of the investigation while it was still ongoing, the Shin Bet said in the statement.

The Shin Bet said in the wake of the incident, it has begun to research ways to prevent "the possibility of cases like this repeating themselves in the future."