'Spy cell' cooperating with Israel detained by Lebanese

Lebanese media sources say Israeli intelligence services requested information on missing IAF navigator Ron Arad in return for money.

October 11, 2010 14:46
1 minute read.
Hizbullah Nasrallah on TV

Hizbullah Nasrallah on TV 311 AP. (photo credit: Associated Press)

The Lebanese Armed Forces claimed that it has recently discovered a new "spy cell" which had cooperated with Israel, according to Lebanese media sources on Monday.

According to the report, which comes two days before Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is scheduled to visit, Israeli intelligence services requested one of the members of the cell supply information on missing Israel Air Force navigator Ron Arad in return for a large sum of money.

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The man stayed in contact with his operators through telephone and electronic mail.

Lebanon labeled the cell as "extremely dangerous." The group was initially revealed on August 12 when an individual admitted during his interrogation that he had been cooperating with Israeli intelligence services since 1996.

Two weeks laters another individual was arrested as a result of a prolonged interrogation. Lebanese officials suspect he was also searching for clues on Ron Arad. The detainee was in telephone contact with his operators and scheduled to meet with one in a European capital, yet the meeting never happened. A week and a half ago another individual was detained, also suspected of cooperating with Israeli intelligence.

Members of the cell were detained according to intelligence by the LAF. In a request to Interpol last month, Lebanon requested an international arrest warrant for a former LAF officer suspected of spying for the Mossad. According to senior law officials in Beirut, the man, Rasan al-Jid, is suspected of being involved in the murder of former prime minister Rafik al-Hariri.

Since April 2009, more than 100 Lebanese have been detained on the suspicion of spying for Israel. Amongst those detained included security personnel, LAF soldiers, retired generals, telecommunication workers and even a Christian party member. A majority of the suspects were accused of revealing Hizbullah positions in southern Lebanon and other valuable information to Israeli forces during the second Lebanon war. Some were given the death penalty.

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