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Israeli Arab Gets 9 Years for Spying

Amir Makhoul in an Israeli courtroom (file photo)

An Israeli court has sentenced an Arab-Israeli activist to nine years in prison after he pleaded guilty to spying for the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah.

Amir Makhoul was convicted on espionage charges by the Haifa district court last October.

According to court documents, Makhoul sent information about Israeli military facilities to Hezbollah through his computer.

He pleaded guilty to espionage as part of a plea bargain in which prosecutors dropped more serious charges that carried a longer sentence. The Haifa court sentenced him on Sunday.

Makhoul was director of Ittijah, a group that fights discrimination against Arabs in Israel. The country's 1.3 million Arabs make up about 20 percent of Israel's population.

Israel and the Iranian-backed Hezbollah fought a month-long war in 2006.

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