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Senior Palestinian figures sue PA over wiretapping

Former Palestinian intelligence chief Tawfiq Tirawi and West Bank Bar Association chief Jawad Obeidat have filed a lawsuit against the Palestinian Authority for allegedly spying on them with the help from the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

The two said in the lawsuit filed that spying included other Palestinian figures who were opponents and rivals of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

The lawsuit came after the release of a 37- page anonymous document on social media allegedly leaked from the Palestinian Authority containing pictures and personal information and transcripts of phone calls.

The document alleges that three Palestinian security personnel formed an electronic surveillance unit in mid-2014 and monitored the phone calls of thousands of Palestinians, senior figures in the Palestinian factions, and even judges, lawyers, civil society leaders and politicians.

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The anonymous whistleblower who released the document described himself as a former member of the surveillance unit who resigned from his "dirty job" several months ago because of his growing opposition to PA practices, including intelligence cooperation with the United States.

He claimed that the US President Donald Trump recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital gave him additional motive to release that information.

Obaidat told the Associated Press on Monday that the text of his telephone conversation was correct as stated in the document. "I made three phone calls and this is evidence of the validity of the leaked report, which is a gross violation of human rights" he said.

Meanwhile, Tirawi told the Associated Press that he was checking his contacts and believed the document was correct. The CIA refused to comment.

A spokesman for the Palestinian security services, Maj. Gen. Adnan al-Dumeiri rejected the document as "nonsense".

The Palestinian public prosecutor, Ahmed Barak confirmed receiving the lawsuit, but declined to comment.

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