Israel has reportedly run a secret diplomatic mission in Bahrain for more than a decade through a front company listed as a commercial consulting firm, before Bahraini and Israeli officials signed a joint communiqué at the weekend to officially establish bilateral diplomatic relations. American Axios news website reported that the existence of the secret embassy remained under a gag order by the Israeli regime for 11 years. The report added that a company formerly named the “Center for International Development” was used as a front for the covert mission, with dual nationality diplomats serving as shareholders, who promoted hundreds of business deals between Israeli and Bahraini firms while they served as a communication channel between the Tel Aviv and Manama regimes. The idea for the covert mission grew from negotiations in 2007-2008 between then Israeli foreign minister Tzipi Livni and her Bahraini counterpart Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifah, according to the report. The decision to open the office came in 2009, shortly after Qatar ordered the closure of an Israeli trade office in Doha against the backdrop of an atrocious military onslaught by the Israeli military against Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip. The Center for International Development offered marketing, commercial promotion and investment services, according to local documents. The firm changed its name in 2013, but the current name was not disclosed for what was described as security reasons. The report named Israeli diplomats who served in the front company as Brett Jonathan Miller, a South African national who went on to be appointed in 2013 as Israel’s consul general in the Indian port city of Mumbai; Ido Moed, a Belgian national who now serves as cyber coordinator in the Israeli foreign ministry; and Idan Fluss, a British national who now serves as the Israeli foreign ministry’s deputy director general for the economy.