Lebanon charges nine for spying

Number of people accused in past weeks of collaborating with Israel rises to 35.

    The Lebanese army has cautioned its troops against  Israeli attempts to infiltrate the military [EPA]

    Achraf Rifi, Lebanon's chief of police, said: "We have not completed the mission. We have files that are still being prepared for arrests."

    Tuesday's arrests bring to about 100 the number of people who have been detained by police and army intelligence agents on suspicion of collaborating with Israel since Lebanese authorities stepped up a campaign against suspected Israeli spies over the past two months.

    Suspects in security-related cases in Lebanon are often held for months before formal charges are filed and spying for or collaborating with Israel can be punishable by death.

    The latest suspects to be held include two serving army colonels, prompting the Lebanese army to send a message to its troops last week cautioning them against Israeli attempts to infiltrate the military.

    Eye on Hezbollah

    Those arrested have all been accused of providing intelligence to Israel on the group Hezbollah, which fought a 34-day war with Israel in 2006 that killed 1,200 people in Lebanon and 159 in Israel.

    "Most played central spying roles and confessed to falling into the snares of the Israeli enemy," Rifi told Reuters news agency. 

    He said some of those detained were involved in operational missions, including the 2004 assassination of Ghalib Awali, a Hezbollah commander, but declined to give any detail.

    "It's too early to reveal the secret. Nobody would surrender the key that led to this before finishing the mission."

    Several others who were charged are still at large.

    Lebanese officials said three suspected spies fled across the border to Israel.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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