Lebanon charges two colonels as spies

Officers accused of 'working for Israel'; over 50 suspects recently arraigned on similar charges.

lebanon spy police 248 88 ap (photo credit: AP)
lebanon spy police 248 88 ap
(photo credit: AP)
A military prosecutor charged two Lebanese army colonels on Monday with collaborating with Israel, raising the number of suspects arraigned in the past few weeks to more than 50, a court official said. Military prosecutor Saqr Saqr charged the two, who were arrested last month, with providing Israel with information about military and security positions, as well as civilian locations and aiding Israeli forces, the official said. 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. One of the two colonels was also charged with possessing unlicensed weapons and hand grenades, while the other was charged with illegally entering Israel, the official said. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the media. The two colonels were detained as part of a stepped-up campaign against suspected Israeli spies over the past two months that has produced about 100 arrests. Israel has refused in the past to comment on Lebanon's spying allegations. Suspects in security-related cases in Lebanon are often held for months before formal charges are filed. Those arrested have all been accused of providing intelligence to Israel on the militant group Hezbollah, which fought a 34-day war with the Jewish state in 2006 that killed 1,200 people in Lebanon and 159 in Israel. Several others who have been charged are also still at large, and Lebanese officials have said three suspected spies fled across the border to Israel. Following the arrest of the two colonels, the Lebanese army sent a message to its troops warning them against Israeli attempts to infiltrate the military.