Lebanon arrests sheikh suspected of spying for Israel

By REUTERS
May 24, 2011 10:59

 
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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.

The sheikh, who was known to be critical of Shi'ite guerrilla group 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.

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