Fmr. Hezbollah member spied for Israel after Mossad blackmail - report

The alleged Israeli spy reportedly attempted to reenter Hezbollah after being blackmailed by the Mossad, but failed to do so before he was arrested.

 Supporters of Lebanon's Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, gather as they carry flags, marking the commemoration of Israel's withdrawal from southern Lebanon in 2000, in Adaisseh village near the border with Israel, southern Lebanon, May 25, 2022.  (photo credit: REUTERS/AZIZ TAHER)
Supporters of Lebanon's Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, gather as they carry flags, marking the commemoration of Israel's withdrawal from southern Lebanon in 2000, in Adaisseh village near the border with Israel, southern Lebanon, May 25, 2022.
(photo credit: REUTERS/AZIZ TAHER)

A former member of Hezbollah was arrested in September in Lebanon on suspicion of spying for the Mossad, and was blackmailed into doing so on threat of the release of videos showing him engaged in sexual relations, the Lebanese Al-Akhbar newspaper reported on Wednesday.

According to the report, in June 2021, the former Hezbollah member, identified as Mohsen S., met a woman who said she was Belgian at a cafe in Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone. The next day, they met at her house and had sex. A few days later, the woman disappeared and would not answer his calls.

A week after the woman disappeared, Mohsen received a video clip on his phone showing him in intimate situations with the woman. Mohsen responded by sending question marks and received no answer except for a message reading "Rejoice, sweetheart." A short time afterward, he received a call from the number, with a man telling him that he was "a friend who wanted help" and that he was from the Mossad.

After hearing the word Mossad, Mohsen hung up and blocked the number, but the man contacted him from another number, warning him that he would send the video clip to his friends and family, according to Al-Akhbar. Mohsen called his friends and family to check whether they had been sent the video and confirmed that they had not.

A few days later, Mohsen received a phone call from the same person and offered to call him over Skype to verify his identity. Mohsen told investigators that in the Skype call, he saw a man in his 50s sitting at a desk with an Israeli flag behind him, along with two other people, including one in an IDF uniform. The former Hezbollah member told the alleged Mossad agent that he would do whatever he wanted if the video wasn't published.

 Mossad seal (credit: רונאלדיניו המלך/Wikimedia Commons) Mossad seal (credit: רונאלדיניו המלך/Wikimedia Commons)

In a further conversation, the alleged Mossad agent began to ask Mohsen about his work in Hezbollah and the training he underwent. Mohsen had joined Hezbollah in 2010 and fought in Syria before being kicked out of the movement for bad behavior. The Mossad agent then asked Mohsen to return to Lebanon and to try and become part of Hezbollah again.

Mohsen was then brought to Liberia where four Israeli officers interrogated him about Hezbollah, the military skills he was trained in, the weapons he had used, the locations where he was trained and individuals who had fought alongside him. Mohsen told the officers that he had worked in the engineering units of Hezbollah and had been trained to plant and dismantle explosive devices.

The officers instructed Mohsen to return to Hezbollah and to provide them with the locations and photos of the movement's weapons and ammunition depots. The officers trained him to use a VPN to mask his communications.

After returning to Lebanon, Mohsen failed to reenter Hezbollah, despite repeated attempts. In September, the Internal Security Forces arrested Mohsen in Naqoura, according to Al-Akhbar.

Multiple arrests of alleged Mossad spies reported in past year in Lebanon

Lebanese media and officials have made repeated claims of catching spies working for Israel in the country in the past year.

In November, Al-Akhbar reported that a Lebanese citizen whose family is close with Hezbollah turned himself in and admitted to working with Israel.

The citizen, a 21-year-old from al-Asira in the Baalbek area, said that he had communicated with Israel through an application provided by an Israeli operator and had decided to turn himself in after "his conscience was awakened," according to the report.

In January, Lebanese Interior Minister Bassam Mawlawi announced that 17 spy networks working for Israel were caught throughout Lebanon.

An Al-Akhbar report at the time claimed that the Information Branch of the Lebanese Internal Security Forces Directorate had launched an operation four weeks prior to dismantle the spy networks one by one. The newspaper added that the branch was trying to keep the operation under wraps by claiming that the suspects were arrested for fraud and drug crimes.

Al-Akhbar claimed that "very sensitive" information showed that, in the past two years, Israeli intelligence has succeeded in conducting a number of "remarkable" operations in Lebanon and Syria and possibly in other locations as well.