UK intelligence 'believes Israel true threat' to Middle East
UK authorities described Israel as a "true threat" to the Middle East, according to alleged leaked documents from a British spy agency and published by French daily Le Monde.
"The Israelis constitute a true threat to regional security, notably because of the country’s position on the Iran issue," an alleged leaked top secret document from 2009 said.
The UK's GCHQ intelligence-gathering apparatus collated information by spying on Israeli diplomats, firms and military, as well as senior members of the Palestinian authority, before making the comments.
However, the French newspaper suggests the GCHQ's tracking of President Mahmoud Abbas and his two sons - just three weeks prior to Israel's 2009 military offensive in Gaza - was conducted to provide Tel Aviv with intelligence in preparation for the operation.
UK and US authorities had for years monitored communications between high-ranking Israeli officials, including state institutions and the military according to reports published in The Wall Street Journal and Der Spiegel.
The new documents were released among the archives of Edward Snowden, who passed on the information to journalists at The Intercept.
In May, The Intercept - the news site launched by journalist Glenn Greenwald who was interviewed Snowden in 2013 - announced it would "invite outside journalists, including from foreign media outlets, to work with us to explore the full Snowden archive".
The move could vastly increase the disclosures from Snowden, who fled the US with a trove of documents detailing vast surveillance programmes by the Washington's National Security Agency, and other intelligence agencies from around the world.
Snowden, who is charged with espionage and the theft of state secrets, has been living in Moscow since the release of the documents.