Lebanon nabs 5 on suspicion of spying for Israel

Officials: Arrest made thanks to information extracted from retired general charged with espionage.

lebanon police arrest 248 88 ap (photo credit: )
lebanon police arrest 248 88 ap
(photo credit: )
Authorities arrested five people in southern Lebanon on Friday for allegedly spying for Israel as part of the two countries' long-running espionage battle, security officials said. Lebanese security agents arrested three family members, a man, his wife and his brother, at their homes in Ghaziyeh near the southern port city of Sidon during a raid early Friday, the officials said. Two computers and CD-ROMs were seized. Two brothers were also arrested in a separate raid Friday in the town of Bint Jbeil near the border with Israel, said the officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media. The officials said arrests in both towns were based on information extracted from retired Lebanese general Adib Alam, who was charged with spying for Israel last month along with his wife and his nephew, G. Alam, who is a government security agent. Israeli officials refused to comment on the arrests. "It is not our practice to comment on these sorts of allegations when they arise, not in this case, not in any case," government spokesman Mark Regev said. At least seven others accused of spying have been arrested in recent weeks in what appears to be part of a stepped-up campaign against those suspected of gathering information on Hizbullah for Israel On April 23, Lebanon announced that information from the arrested former general led to the arrest of three men suspected of ties with the alleged spying ring for Israel. Lebanese security agents grabbed the three men, two Lebanese and a Palestinian, from their homes in southern Lebanon during a raid. G. Alam, a general security department corporal, was arrested in the south Lebanese town of Naqoura in mid April, several days after his uncle, retired Lebanese general Adib Alam, was arrested at his office in Beirut, on suspicion of spying for Israel. "We are facing a professional and well-trained network, even while it is being discovered, and as a result, the investigation will take a long time," a security source told the As-Safir newspaper at the time. The spy ring may not be limited to espionage activities, but might also be engaged in carrying out missions, he added. Hizbullah's deputy secretary-general, Naim Qassem, has called the arrest of Adib Alam a major achievement for security forces. "Preliminary information indicates he had been working as a spy for Israel for over 25 years and retired from his position in national security eight years ago," Qassem told AFP. Brenda Gazzar contributed to this report