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Israeli agent knew { November 14 1997 }

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Friday, November 14, 1997 Published at 18:12 GMT

Israeli agent 'knew Rabin would be killed'

The Israeli Government has published secret sections of a report into the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin which highlight the activities of a former agent of the secret services.

The official report makes clear that Avishai Raviv, a former Shin Bet agent, knew that Yigal Amir, a right-wing Jew, had repeatedly boasted of his intention to kill the prime minister. But Raviv did not warn his superiors.

It has also emerged that Raviv was himself engaged in violence against Arabs to gain credibility with right-wing extremists.

Raviv was described in the report as a troublesome agent and the closest person to Yigal Amir. The report says not only did he know of his friend's intention to murder the Prime Minister, he even told him that religious law permitted it.

The government decided to declassify sections of a report into the 1995 assassination to dispel the rising tide of recrimination.

There have been accusations that Shin Bet was involved in a conspiracy to murder Mr Rabin and left-wing politicians have also blamed the current Prime Minister, Benyamin Netanyahu, and other leading right-wing figures for fostering a climate of hatred in anti-Rabin rallies leading up to his death.

The critics say the release of this report is an attempt to shirk responsibility. Immediately after its publication some right-wing members of parliament called for Mr Raviv and his handlers to be prosecuted.

Mr Raviv is said to have been in hiding since shortly after the assassination.

The opposition has accused government leaders of publishing the details a day after the second anniversary of the killing to divert attention from their own actions, which the opposition says helped whip up hatred against Mr Rabin because of his peace deal with the Palestinians.

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