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Israeli report alleges cover-up in 2015 death of Netanyahu employee in Mexico

Dec. 6, 2016 7:19 P.M. (Updated: Dec. 6, 2016 7:19 P.M.)
Israeli Tal Nahum, 21, was killed in an alleged traffic accident in Mexico on May 4, 2015. (File)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Two bodyguards of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are suspected of being involved in a “suspicious” car accident in Mexico in 2015 that led to the death of an Israeli woman who also worked for Netanyahu, according to an investigative report broadcast by Israel’s Channel 2 on Monday.

According to the report, 21-year-old Tal Nahum, who worked for the security department of the prime minister’s office, was on vacation in Mexico with a coworker in May 2015, when they encountered Israeli intelligence officers whom Nahum recognized as being elite members of Netanyahu’s security staff .

The four went out for drinks together, and decided early the next morning to drive to watch the sunrise, when one of the bodyguards, who was driving the car, crashed into a local bus, killing Nahum and injuring the other passengers.

According to Channel 2, initial media reports into the accident stated that the Israeli woman was killed during a head-on collision between two buses.

However, Nahum’s mother told the Israeli news channel that her family had been told that a bus had deviated from its course and hit the rented car, and that Israeli officials had told them that Mexican drivers were “reckless” and couldn’t be trusted.

Meanwhile, Channel 2 reporter Nesli Barda met with the bus driver in Mexico for the report, who told her that he had been preparing to make a U-turn when a small car traveling fast hit the back of the bus.

A Mexican police officer who investigated the incident confirmed the version of events, and told Barda that Mexican authorities had wanted to interrogate the Israeli bodyguards, but that the two had left the country very shortly after the deadly accident.

The contradictory accounts, coupled with the fact that Israeli authorities assisted the bodyguards in promptly leaving Mexico, have led Nahum’s parents to believe that the accident may in fact have been deliberate.

Nahum’s father said he was surprised when the security guards returned to Israel only four days after the accident, despite the fact that he was told it would take them at least three weeks until they could fly back.

Both the Israeli Shin Bet intelligence agency and the Israeli Foreign Ministry denied to Channel 2 that the traffic accident was improperly handled. "The security guards had not been summoned for questioning in Mexico, neither were there any restrictions on their travel after the accident, and so they flew back home without any intervention of the Shin Bet," the Shun Bet said.

However, the report revealed that one of the security guards had lost his passport and both the consul and Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs helped him obtain a new one very quickly for him to leave the country.

After pleading their case to a number of officials, Nahum’s parents finally convinced Israeli police to investigate the case and question the security guard on charges of causing Nahum’s as a result of recklessness. The other security guard was summoned to give testimony.

"The way that accident was forgotten after a few weeks as if nothing happened made me believe something was wrong, and that it wasn't just a traffic accident. I realized somebody was involved in something and there were attempts to cover up or silence the truth in very sensitive places," Nesli said in the report.
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