Accused Lebanese army colonel flees to Israel
Lebanese security sources announced Wednesday an army colonel suspected of collaborating with the Mossad escaped to Israel last week. Two other colonels have been detained in an espionage probe that has led to over 50 arrests. 20 of the arrested have already been charged.
According to al-Akhbar newspaper, the colonel left his parents' home in the southern town of Qlaiaa July 1 and never came back. He told his mother that he would stay overnight at his house in Baabda and come back the following morning. When the officer declined to show up at the specified time and would not answer his phone, his sister went to check on him, only to find that his apartment was locked.
After informing the Lebanese army intelligence of her brother's disappearance, armed forces learned that the officer had left his military phone at his apartment, while his BMW car remained parked outside the building where he lived, al-Akhbar went on to say.
The wave of arrests began last April with the arrest of a retired brigadier general of the General Security directorate. Lebanon has labeled the arrests a blow to Israel’s intelligence gathering.
Hizbullah has called for the execution of the convicted men. One of the detained was allegedly involved in the 2004 assassination of Hezbollah commander Ghalib Awali.
In response to the arrests, Lebanon has officially complained to the United Nations, saying that Israel’s spying breaches a Security Council resolution that halted the 2006 conflict between the two countries. Replying to the allegations, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon said the allegation, “if proved, could endanger the fragile cessation of hostilities that exists between Israel and Lebanon.
Israel has not released any official response on the matter.