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Red-faced Israel issues mild apology for wiretap attempt

Moving to repair the damage from Mossad's latest blunder, Israel made a half-hearted apology to Switzerland on Friday for trying to wiretap a suspected member of an Islamic militant group in the Swiss capital.

In a letter to the Swiss president, Israel said it regretted any trouble the incident caused but also noted that terrorism continues to threaten Israel's security and the stability of the Middle East.Israel and Switzerland tried to settle the matter quietly after five Mossad agents were caught red-handed Feb. 19.

But leaks in Israel this week forced the Swiss to go public and demand an apology.

Switzerland prides itself on its neutrality, and a forgiving attitude toward Israel would have angered some Arab countries. In response to the incident, Iran has already demanded that Switzerland guarantee security for Iranian diplomats.