Israeli technician ‘held for disclosing secrets’
Jerusalem : An Israeli nuclear technician who disclosed details of his country's alleged atomic weapons programme is in custody after being taken home against his will, a friend said yesterday.
An Australian clergyman, the Rev John McKnight, who is hunting for the missing nuclear technician, Mordechai Vanunu, said that he had learned Vanunu was remanded in custody for 15 days by a judge in Jerusalem last Monday.
Mr McKnight, who converted Vanunu to Christianity in Australia, arrived in Israel on Thursday to search for his parishioner.
Newsweek magazine reported last week that Vanunu, a former employee at Israel's Dimona nuclear research reactor who went missing in London on September 30, six days before the Sunday Times published his story, was kidnapped in Europe by Mossad agents.
The newspaper report said that Israel had been producing nuclear warheads for more than 20 years in a secret underground factory.
The Government refused to comment on the substance of the reports, but said in a brief statement that Israel would not be the first to introduce nuclear weapons into the Middle East.
This despatch was submitted by order to Israeli military censors who made no deletions.
Mr McKnight said he had been unable so far to obtain any reply on Vanunu's whereabouts from the Israeli Prime Minister's office, which is in charge of the secret services.
The clergyman refused to disclose the source of his information, saying he had given undertakings to his informants. Israel-based reporters have been barred from reporting independently on Vanunu's whereabouts. - Reuter.