Retired Israel Defense Ministry official, named as 54-year-old Erez Shimoni, who drowned in Lake Maggiore in Italy last Monday, was a Mossad agent working on a mission with Italian intelligence personnel, according to Italian media.
Apart from the Mossad agent, two Italian intelligence personnel and the captain’s wife drowned in the accident, when the boat they were traveling on capsized. There were 23 intelligence agents on the boat, disguised as tourists, 13 of them from the Mossad. They had boarded the boat in Slovenia, which took them to a small island in Lake Maggiore.
The intelligence operation was only revealed after the boat sank.
The Israeli Mossad agents and the Italian intelligence personnel were reportedly collaborating on a mission to stop Iran from obtaining advanced weapons, according to a report by the Italian newspaper La Repubblica.
The boat’s captain, Carlo Carminati, is suspected of negligent homicide, as the boat was allegedly only allowed to carry 15 passengers onboard at one time, whereas it had a total of 25 people aboard when it capsized.
The Italian and Israeli intelligence officers reportedly began to work together following Italian reports that Russian oligarchs in the area were participating in transferring Iranian UAV’s to Russia.
The Israeli prime minister’s office said in a statement that it could not elaborate on Shimoni’s activities due to his service in the Mossad, however he offered his condolences.
Little information was released regarding the agent's death, with some reports noting the ex-Israeli spy was 50 years old, not 54, and other reports saying Shimoni was not his real name and that he was referred to only by the initial "M" at his funeral.
“The Mossad lost a dear friend, a devoted and professional worker who, for decades, dedicated his life to the security of the State of Israel, even after his retirement,” the prime minister’s office said in a statement. “The Mossad mourns the loss and shares in the family’s sorrow.”
Lake Maggiore is the second largest lake in Italy and a popular destination for tourists. The lake stretches for 70 kilometers (about 44 miles) between Locarno, Switzerland in the north and Arona, Italy.
The body of the ex-spy was buried in Israel on Wednesday.
The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.