Middle East

Israel to probe Arab lawmaker for smuggling prisoners phones

Israel's attorney general has ordered the investigation of an Arab lawmaker on suspicion of smuggling mobile phones to Palestinian prisoners.

Police said on Monday they will soon summon the lawmaker, Basel Ghattas, for questioning.

Israel's prison services said they received a tip that Ghattas would smuggle the phones on Sunday to Palestinian prisoners convicted of killing Israelis. Following the visit, prison officials recovered 12 mobile phones from the prisoners.

Israel's internal security minister, Gilad Erdan, says if suspicions prove true, Ghattas belongs in jail.

Ghattas is a member of the Balad faction, a Palestinian nationalist party that frequently clashes with the Israeli government. In 2007, Balad lawmaker Azmi Bishara fled Israel while facing charges of espionage for the Lebanese Shiite Hezbollah group.

Arabs make up one fifth of Israel's population.