A Hezbollah member carries his weapon on top of a building on May 25, 2016..
(photo credit: HASSAN ABDALLAH / REUTERS)
A Lebanese-Canadian dual national was arrested in Beirut on suspicion of spying for Israeli intelligence, Lebanese authorities said.
“Within the frame of its fight against espionage for the Israeli enemy entity and the dismantlement of its rings inside Lebanon, the General Directorate of the General Security has arrested Lebanese-Canadian F.G., born 1978, upon the notice of the military prosecution,” Lebanon’s General Security intelligence agency said in a statement.
While there were no details on when or where the suspect was detained, according to Lebanese media reports, he confessed during interrogation that he was recruited in 2013 by a Lebanese fugitive who belong to an Israeli army intelligence network called “Unit 504.”
He confessed to spending six years spying on Hezbollah, trying to gather intelligence on Hezbollah operatives. He was also attempting to gather information on Israeli pilot Ron Arad, who has been missing since 1986 when his plane was shot down over southern Lebanon and was supposedly handed to the terror group.
“F.G.” had also been told to recruit other Lebanese citizens to infiltrate into Hezbollah.
Israel and Lebanon are technically in a state of war, and according to AFP News Agency, the Lebanese government has detained more than 100 people on suspicion of spying for Israel between 2009 and 2014.
Israel and Hezbollah fought a deadly 33-day war in 2006, which came to an end under UN Security Council Resolution 1701. The resolution called for the disarmament of Hezbollah, Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon, deployment of the Lebanese army and an enlarged UN force in the south of the country.
Following the Second Lebanon War, Hezbollah has since then morphed from a guerrilla group to an army with a set hierarchy and procedures.
With the help of Iran, the group has rebuilt its arsenal since 2006 and has hundreds of thousands of short-range rockets and several thousand more missiles that can reach deeper into Israel. Military and intelligence officials have said that in the next war, the terrorist group will aim to fire some 1,500-2,000 rockets per day.
In addition to their massive arsenal, Hezbollah also has the ability to mobilize close to 30,000 battle-hardened fighters, some of whom were expected to try to infiltrate into Israeli communities on the border to kill or kidnap civilians and soldiers.
The border area with Lebanon has been flagged by the IDF as vulnerable to enemy infiltration, and in December, the IDF announced that it had begun Operation Northern Shield to destroy cross-border attack tunnels dug by Hezbollah.
While the military announced the end of the operation in January after finding and destroying six tunnels, it noted that it “is simultaneously monitoring several locations where Hezbollah is digging underground structures which have yet to cross into Israel.”
It will also continue a “broad defense effort” along the Lebanese border to ensure that Hezbollah does not try to dig future tunnels into Israel by integrating various means, such as the ongoing construction of the border wall with Lebanon.
Israel has invested significant amounts of money and effort into strengthening its defenses along the border with Lebanon over the past several years, by creating obstacles such as artificial cliffs and building high concrete barriers to help prevent any such ground attacks by Hezbollah.
Disagreement over Israel’s construction of its new border wall have elevated tensions between Israel and Lebanon with Hezbollah’s Secretary-General, Hassan Nasrallah, who has warned Israel against its continued construction efforts.
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