JERUSALEM, Feb. 17 (Xinhua) -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued on Sunday a first official comment on the " Prisoner X" issue that has rattled Israel and Australia in recent days, defending the Israeli security services.
"I completely trust Israel's security services which operate with endless dedication and commitment to ensure that we will be able to live in this country, as well as the legal authorities who supervise them," Netanyahu told ministers at the outset of the cabinet's weekly meeting, referring to an Australian television expose last week about a Jewish-born Mossad operative who two years ago committed suicide in an Israeli jail.
"The security and intelligence forces operate under the full supervision of the legal establishment, which is fully independent, " Netanyahu said, according to a remarks sent to Xinhua.
The prime minister called on all parties involved in the affair "to let the security forces work quietly, so that we can continue to live in security and tranquility in Israel."
Australia's ABC News identified Melbourne native Ben Zygier, a. k.a. Prisoner X, as the alleged Mossad spy who spent months in total solitary confinement at the Ayalon Prison near Tel Aviv for supposedly posing a major security risk until his "apparent suicide" by hanging in Dec. 2010.
Zygier, 34, immigrated to Israel a decade prior to his incarceration, took the Hebrew name Ben Alon, worked at a kibbutz and served in the army before being recruited by Mossad. In 2006 he married an Israeli woman and the pair had two children, one of whom was born four days before he killed himself, according to ABC 's "Foreign Correspondent" series.
The report did not give the reason for Zygier's imprisonment, but a former senior member of Australian intelligence speculated in an interview with ABC that "it would have to be connected with espionage, possibly treachery, but very, very sensitive information that... would pose an immediate threat" to Israel.