A recently retired Mossad agent has died along with two Italian spies after their boat carrying dozens of other intelligence officers capsized in Lake Maggiore, northern Italy, on Sunday.
The “tour boat” capsized in strong winds. It reportedly set sail despite warnings of severe weather approaching. Italian authorities have stressed it sank due to the weather rather than an act of sabotage.
The president of the Lombardy region, Attilio Fontana, claimed on May 28 that a “whirlwind” had caused the 16-meter (52-foot) long boat to overturn.
On Monday night, the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed that the person killed on the ship was a retired Israeli security service employee. Israel reportedly barred media in the country from reporting the name of the fatality, but lifted the embargo at midnight. The man has been identified as Erez Shimoni, 54.
The boat carried a total of 23 individuals at the time of the accident. The event on the ship, which was initially defined as a "birthday party," was allegedly a meeting between intelligence agents. Most of them were active and retired Italian and Israeli intelligence officers, as per Israeli media.
Following the capsizing of the boat, both the Israeli team and their Italian counterparts swam a short distance to reach the shore, where they were promptly rescued. Three additional individuals died in the incident, including two Italian intelligence officers.
Israeli personnel swiftly departed from Italy the following morning on an Israeli military flight, reports said.