Hebrew Spy Equipment 311.
(photo credit: LAF Website)
The Lebanese Armed Forces on Thursday released pictures of what it said were
Hebrew markings on espionage equipment it claimed to have uncovered on
mountaintops earlier this week. A photograph released by the LAF shows a sign
saying “Mini Cloud” in Hebrew and “Beam Systems Israel LTD” in
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Also on Thursday, Lebanese President Michel Suleiman lauded the
cooperation between the Lebanese Armed Forces and Hizbullah that led to the
discovery of the alleged Israeli spy equipment.
Israeli officials have
made no comment on the claims, whose authenticity is unclear.
One of the
long-range spy systems was reportedly discovered on Mount Sannine, which
overlooks Beirut and the eastern Bekaa Valley, and the second was found on Mount Barouk, southeast of the capital, the army said in a statement, which
credited Hizbullah with providing information that enabled the
Meanwhile, Lebanese media reported that an explosion that
rocked the city of Sidon on Wednesday night was caused by an Israeli bombing of
one of its sea-based intelligence- gathering units. The IDF had issued a rare
statement Wednesday night denying that it was involved in an operation near
If reconnaissance equipment was discovered on the mountains, which
have a clear view of the Beirut-Damascus Highway and the Bekaa Valley – a
Hizbullah stronghold – it could mean that it was placed there to follow the
smuggling of weaponry from Syria into Lebanon and possibly even designate
If the equipment, which included cameras and laser
designators, was planted by Israel, then one key question is when this was done.
One possibility is that it was placed there during the Second Lebanon War in
2006, when thousands of IDF soldiers were operating inside
Lebanon. Another possibility is that the equipment was placed there
recently in covert operations.
The discovery of alleged Israeli spy
equipment hidden in boulders deep inside Lebanon could constitute a significant
blow to intelligence. Tellingly, however, the much-hyped claims about the
finds are timed to bolster Hizbullah’s efforts to draw attention away from its
troubles and to a common enemy – Israel.
For Hizbullah, the ostensible
discovery of the equipment is significant since it helps divert attention from
the imminent expected indictment of top Hizbullah operatives by the United
Nations tribunal investigating the 2005 assassination of former prime minister
Hizbullah is extremely concerned that some of its top
operatives will be accused of responsibility for the Hariri assassination. If
this happens, it would contradict the image Hizbullah has tried to create of
being the defender of Lebanon against the Israeli threat. The “discovery” of the
alleged Israeli spy equipment shows that the Israeli threat still
In other developments in Lebanon on Thursday, clashes erupted
between residents in the south of the country and officers from the UNIFIL
peacekeeping force. According to a report in the Lebanese press, residents of
Tayri, a Hizbullah stronghold, clashed with French soldiers who were trying to
demarcate a location near the village.
UNIFIL’s mandate is supposed to
allow the peacekeepers access throughout southern Lebanon, but over the past
year, locals – who Israel believes are being egged on by Hizbullah – have
increased their active opposition to the UN force’s daily
Israeli defense officials have said that the increase in clashes
was likely a sign that Hizbullah was pressured by the UNIFIL presence, which was
slightly impairing the guerrilla force’s ability to operate out in the open.