Russia to extradite Israeli spook to Colombia

Russian authorities have formally agreed to extradite to Colombia former Israeli military officer Yair Klein, officials at Moscow’s embassy in Bogotá said. Colombia requested Klein’s extradition five months ago after he was arrested by Interpol and agents of the Anti-terrorist Department of Russia’s Interior Ministry while trying to board a flight to Israel at Moscow’s airport. He faces charges in Colombia of organizing and training paramilitary groups in the violence-torn Medio Magdalena region. (El Pais, Cali, Feb. 4)

The scandal appears not to have harmed Bogotá’s relations with Israel. Speaking from Tel Aviv, Colombian Defense Minister Juan Manuel Santos said technical support would be provided for upgrading Colombia’s Israel-supplied Kfir fighter planes for “intelligence and bombardment operations” against the guerillas. (AP, Feb. 6) Israeli media reported last week that Israel has been supplying Colombia with drone aircraft, arms, ammunition and electronic equipment. Hosting Santos at his official Jerusalem residence, President Shimon Peres said that Colombia defied international embargoes to ship weapons to the newly-created Jewish state in the aftermath of World War II. “In recent years the situation has come full circle, and Israel is able to repay Columbia [sic] in kind,” a statement from Peres’ office quoted the president as saying, without elaborating. (Haaretz, Israel, Feb. 7)

See our last posts on Colombia and the Israeli connection.