Four Lebanese charged over Israel ties

Lebanon's military prosecutor: Men gave Israel information on army positions, political figures.

Lebanon Israel spies 248.88 (photo credit: AP [file])
Lebanon Israel spies 248.88
(photo credit: AP [file])
Lebanon charged four people with collaborating with Israel on Saturday, raising to 23 the number of suspected spies who have been charged in the last few months, a court official said. Military prosecutor Saqr Saqr charged the four men with "collaborating with the Israeli enemy, aiding its forces and providing it with information about civilian and military positions and political and party figures," the official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the media. Since the recent crackdown began in April, Lebanon has arrested 35 people on suspicion of spying for Israel, the country's archenemy, Lebanese police commander Brig. Gen. Ashraf Rifi told The Associated Press. Lebanon considers itself at war with Israel and bans its citizens from having any contact with the Jewish state. Spying for or collaborating with Israel can be punishable by death. Israel has refused in the pass to comment on the spying allegations. Some of the 23 people who have been charged are still at large. The four who were charged Saturday included the deputy mayor of a town in eastern Lebanon. The others include a Lebanese army colonel, a former security general, two members of the Lebanese security forces, a math teacher, a truck driver and a housewife. Those in custody have all been accused of providing intelligence to Israel on Hizbullah, including one who sought information on the location of Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah. Last week, Nasrallah demanded that the death penalty be carried out against those found guilty of spying for Israel. It remains unclear how the authorities managed to break up the alleged espionage rings, but police have displayed sophisticated spying devices they say were seized from those arrested. Lebanese officials have said three suspected spies fled across the border to Israel.