An Ex-Mossad Agent and 2 Italian Spies Died After a Houseboat Sank

10 current or former Israeli intelligence officers were flown to hospitals in Israel via 2 private jets, a source told VICE News.
lake maggiore spies houseboat
PHOTO: Mattia Ozbot/Getty Images

Four people have died after a houseboat in Italy sank during a birthday party attended by intelligence officials from Italy and Israel. 

The incident on Sunday sent some two dozen guests to various hospitals including Israeli officials and guests flown by clandestine private jets back to Israel for treatment, according to an Israeli official.


The dead included two members of Italian intelligence agencies, Tiziana Barnobi, 53, and Claudio Alonzi, 62, as well as a retired member of Israeli intelligence named Shimoni Erez, 60, and the co-owner of the boat, Anna Bozhkova, 50. The Israeli official confirmed, on the condition of anonymity, that about 10 current or former Israeli intelligence officers had been flown to hospitals in Israel via two private jets.

The birthday party on an island in northern Italy’s Lake Maggiore was described in the Italian press as a “convivial meeting,” that mixed official and personal bonding after a series of meetings between the two agencies.

“It was a routine social event mixing business and socialising and a terrible tragedy for both Italy and Israel occurred,” said the official. “Because of the nature of some of the guest’s work, steps were taken to immediately repatriate for medical care and to protect identities.”

Italian police said the 52-foot boat, which was designed for 15 passengers, was badly overloaded with 20 guests and two crew members as it returned guests from a party on a small island to shore. During the short trip, a sudden storm swamped the overloaded boat as it sank, sending guests swimming for shore. 

At least five Italian passengers were taken to local hospitals before government officials had them transferred anonymously to other facilities to further protect their covert identities.