Tyre Lebanon_311 reuters.
(photo credit: STR New / Reuters)
BEIRUT - Lebanese military intelligence has detained a Shi'ite sheikh in southern Lebanon on suspicion of spying for Israel, a security source said on Tuesday.
RELATED:Lebanon army: Israeli spy device dismantled near borderAustralian national charged with spying for HamasIDF attaché to Russia deported for alleged spying
The sheikh, who was known to be critical of Hezbollah and its regional backers, Syria and Iran, was arrested in the southern port city of Tyre on Monday.
He ran an organization called the Arab-Islamic Resistance which he said had 1,500 fighters, the security source said. The sheikh also claimed responsibility for launching rockets towards Israel two years ago, the source said.
The arrest was the first high-profile detention in recent months.
Lebanon launched a wave of arrests in April 2009 as part of espionage
investigation in which dozens have been arrested on suspicion of spying
for Israel. A high-ranking army officer, a Christian party member and
telecom firm employees were among those detained over the last year.
Lebanese President Michel Suleiman has called for severe punishment for the spies
and said if he receives a death sentence verdict he would sign it.
Seven people have received death sentences in the last few months.
Israel has not commented on any of the arrests.
Security officials say the arrests have severely weakened Israel's spying networks in Lebanon.