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Israeli Defence Minister's Cleaner Sentenced for Spying Attempt

A man employed as a cleaner in Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz's home was sentenced to three years' prison for attempting to spy for Iran-linked hackers, the justice ministry said Tuesday.

Omri Goren Gorochovsky, a 38-year-old resident of the central city of Lod, had been employed along with his partner as a cleaner in Gantz's home in Rosh Haayin outside Tel Aviv.

He was arrested in November last year and charged with attempting to spy for the Black Shadow group after offering to pass information from Gantz's home to the hackers.

On Tuesday, the justice ministry said Gorochovsky had reached a plea deal in which "he confessed to an attempt to pass on information to an enemy," with the court sentencing him to "three years' prison".

The justice ministry statement described Black Shadow as "a hacker group affiliated with Iran".

The Shin Bet domestic security agency said last year that Gorochovsky never gained access to "classified materials" and therefore did not successfully share state secrets, adding that Gorochovsky was arrested just days after he reached out to Black Shadow. 

An arrest warrant for Gorochovsky had indicated he had an extensive criminal history, including five convictions and prison time served for various offences including bank robbery, raising questions about how he was hired to work in the home of one of Israel's top security officials.

Black Shadow has been blamed for multiple attacks on Israel's internet infrastructure. 

The group's hacks are seen as part of a years-long covert war between Israel and Iran, including physical attacks on ships and offensive cyber moves online.

In October last year, Black Shadow claimed a cyberattack targeting an Israeli internet service provider that attracted widespread media attention.

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