Install

Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Israeli Detained On Terror Charges

Domodedovo Airport police have detained an Israeli citizen wanted on terrorism charges in Colombia, the Interior Ministry said Tuesday.

The suspect, Yair Klein, 61, was detained at the airport Monday night on an Interpol warrant issued by Colombia, which accuses him of training militants for drug cartels in the 1980s, ministry spokesman Innokenty Nefyodov said.

"Colombia is seeking his extradition and has been informed of the arrest," Nefyodov said by telephone.

He said it was unclear when the suspect would be extradited but that the process should not take long.

An Israeli Embassy spokesman said he did not know whether there was an extradition agreement between Israel and Colombia and therefore could not comment on the likelihood of an extradition.

The embassy was trying to arrange a meeting with Klein. "We hope that our consul will be able to see him Wednesday," said the spokesman, Alex Goldman-Shaiman.

He said Klein's lawyer was expected to arrive in Moscow from Israel later this week.

Repeated calls to the Colombian Embassy went unanswered Tuesday.

Klein, a former lieutenant-colonel in the Israeli army, was detained upon his arrival from Israel on business for his company, Spearhead Ltd., Nefyodov said. The company is listed on various specialist web sites as a private mercenary firm based in Israel.

Nefyodov said Klein had been tried in absentia by a Colombian court on charges of taking part in terrorist activities in the Latin American country. "He was sentenced in 2001 to 10 years and eight months in prison," he said.

Klein apparently had managed to elude arrest before by modifying his name and date of birth. Nefyodov said the passport that Klein used at Domodedovo contained an incorrect first name and year of birth. "He was born in 1946, not in 1943," he said.

Klein and two other Israelis are accused of helping to set up training camps to teach private armies working for drug lords Pablo Escobar and Gonzalo Rodigruez Gacha, The Associated Press reported. The armies later merged into Colombia's right-wing death-squads.

Klein also is believed to have been involved in illegal arms dealings in Sierra Leone in the 1990s. The West African country was then embroiled in a civil war centering around illegal diamond trades, depicted in the recent Hollywood film "Blood Diamond."