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The Foreign Ministry was "checking into" reports Saturday night that Lebanese authorities have arrested an Israeli man and handed him over to military intelligence for interrogation because he has frequently visited Lebanon.
"We are checking into the incident," a Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said. The Prime Minister's Office had nothing to say on the matter.
The Lebanese media identified the man as Daniel Sharon.
Lebanese security officials said Sharon had visited Lebanon 11 times in the past two years using a German passport and was arrested by police at a Beirut hotel on Thursday.
A Lebanese security agent was also held for questioning about his relations with Sharon after the two maintained contacts through the Internet, said the officials.
A senior military official also confirmed the arrest, saying he was now being interrogated by military investigators.
About a decade ago, a Hebrew daily ran a weekend feature story on an Israeli with a German passport named Daniel Sharon who had converted to Islam and moved to Jordan, where he opened a flower shop with some friends, and used to travel frequently to Lebanon.
The Lebanese daily Al-Akhbar reported Saturday that the man's arrest came after an investigation into the murder of a Lebanese citizen found dead in an apartment in Beirut's southern suburbs.
Police said the victim had been shot with a gun belonging to a roommate who was a security officer, the paper said, without citing sources.
The roommate told authorities he had lost his gun and was with a German friend who was staying at a hotel in Beirut when the killing occurred, the paper said.
Police later went to the hotel and detained the friend for questioning, it added.
During a preliminary interrogation, police grew suspicious over the Israeli man's visits to Lebanon and other Arab countries, his spending and his ability to speak Arabic, according to the newspaper.
The Israeli said his visits to Lebanon were for tourism and to see friends, the report said. One Lebanese newspaper quoted a judicial source as saying Sharon "is denying charges of espionage and insists that he is gay and he likes to have sexual relations with Lebanese men, and that is why his visits to Lebanon were frequent." â€¢
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