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Secret service knew murder { November 13 1997 }

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Thursday, November 13, 1997 Published at 12:45 GMT

Despatches: Middle East
Lyse Doucet
From Jerusalem

Israel has released sections of a previously classified report into the assassination of the Prime Minister, Yitzhak Rabin, which reveals that an informer of the secret service knew of the murder conspiracy but failed to stop the assassin, Yigal Amir. The decision to declassify sections of the Shamgar Commission's report comes in the midst of mounting recrimination over who was to blame for Mr Rabin's murder. From Jerusalem, Lyse Doucet, reports:

"His code name was 'champagne'. The secret service informer, Avishai Raviv, is described in this report as a troublesome agent and the closest person to Yigal Amir, the man who killed Yitzhak Rabin. The report says Mr Raviv knew of his friends intention to murder the Prime Minister. He even told him that religious law permitted it and he didn't tell his handlers in the Israeli secret service who were supposed to protect the Israeli leader. 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 the Shin Bet secret service was involved in a conspiracy to murder Mr Rabin and left wing politicians have also blamed the current Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu and other leading right wing figures for fostering a climate of hatred in anti Rabin rallies leading upto 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."

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