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A report the Security Intelligence Service (SIS) launched an investigation into suspicious Israeli activity following the February 22 Christchurch earthquake has been picked up by news media outlets in Israel.
The Southland Times reported today that the behaviour of a number of Israelis following the earthquake raised the suspicions of the SIS, sparking an investigation into the possibility the police national computer may have been hacked.
The SIS reportedly became suspicious after "at least" five passports were found on Ofer Benyamin Mizrahi, 23, who was killed in the quake.
Other concerns included the immediate flight of his three companions, the high level Israeli Government interest in the quake and the behaviour of a private search and rescue squad funded by the families of Israelis killed in the quake.
The story was the top item on the website for Haaretz, Israel's oldest daily newspaper, under the headline "Israeli killed in New Zealand earthquake was Mossad agent".
The story was also the lead item on Ynetnews under the headline "NZ quake victims -- spies".
The Jerusalem Post website was also carrying the story.
Many of the people commenting about the story on Israeli websites have questioned the merits of spying in New Zealand.
"In New Zealand to do what, precisely? Spy on the sheep?" Sarah B said on the Ynetnews web site.
Another comment said the story was "smear hype" typical of "the Arabs".
One person said it was not unusual for Israelis to carry multiple passports.
"My nieces have four passports and are no spy agents," the person said.