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Ex-intel agents flown back to Israel after Italian boat disaster

A retired Israeli security officer was among those killed when the vessel capsized.

The search and rescue operation following the overturning of a tourist boat on Italy's Lake Maggiore, May 29, 2023. Source: Twitter.
The search and rescue operation following the overturning of a tourist boat on Italy's Lake Maggiore, May 29, 2023. Source: Twitter.

Ten former Israeli intelligence agents who survived a boat accident on northern Italy’s Lake Maggiore on Sunday were rushed back to their home country aboard a military plane.

A retired Israeli security forces officer was among the four people who drowned when the vessel capsized due to stormy weather while a birthday party was being celebrated, Tuesday’s report in the la Repubblica daily added.

The other fatalities among the 22 passengers and two crew members were two Italians who worked for the country’s intelligence service and the Russian wife of the boat captain. The rest of those onboard managed to swim to shore or were rescued by other boats, although five of them were injured in the incident.

Claudio Alonzi, 62, and Dr. Tiziana Barnovi, 53, were named as the Italian victims and Anya Bozhkova, 50, was the Russian victim.

According to the report, 18 of the 20 survivors were also either active or former intelligence agents. Like the Israelis, the Italians were quickly evacuated from emergency rooms and hotels “so as not to leave a trace.” 

On Monday, the Israeli embassy in Rome confirmed that a 50-year-old Israeli had died and that his family had been notified. The embassy was working on bringing his body to Israel for burial.

“Every time we would ask, he would smile broadly and say nothing. The most discreet man I knew, the salt of the earth,” a close friend of the Israeli victim said.

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