Lebanese Army Arrests ‘12 Collaborators with Israel'
Twelve alleged spies who were gathering intelligence on Hizbollah and planning bomb attacks on behalf of Israel have been arrested, the Lebanese army announced Thursday.
"A 12-man network of terrorism and intelligence working for the Israeli intelligence service have been arrested. Sophisticated communication equipment and camouflaged photography equipment were seized from them," said the army statement, cited by the Daily Star.
"Those arrested also confessed to gathering information on the resistance movement and their positions and sent their information to the enemy.
"The members admitted to having been trained inside Israel and confessed that they were charged with recruiting people to work with the enemy and carry out bomb attacks in Sidon and its vicinity," the statement added.
Sources close to the investigation told the paper that some members of the ring belonged to the defunct South Lebanon Army militia and were trained in Israel.
The army said that one of the members of the spy ring was a "Palestinian officer with the rank of lieutenant colonel."
According to the daily, the Palestinian who the army claimed was responsible for a number of car bombings in the Sidon area is believed to be Sami Akkawi, a senior member of the Armed Struggle faction in Palestinian President Yasser Arafat's Fateh movement in Sidon's Ain Hilweh refugee camp.
Another Palestinian is thought to be included in the ring, possibly Mohammed Ali Obeid, a colleague of Akkawi in Fateh, who was arrested by the authorities on unknown charges last week, said the paper.
Sources close to the investigation were quoted as saying that that the ring included First Sergeant Charbel Samra from the Internal Security Forces and Tanios Jarjoura from Qrayyeh, and eight other Lebanese, including one woman.
The sources said that the 10 Lebanese were arrested after Akkawi was taken into custody, and that he frequently visited other members of the ring.
Judicial sources told AFP that Lebanese authorities started to arrest members of the "terrorist network about three weeks ago."
The arrests would mark the first time Lebanon has announced the detention of an Israeli agent since the Jewish state ended its bloody 22-year occupation of south Lebanon in May, said the agency.
During the occupation, Lebanon regularly announced the arrests of Israeli spies.
The army statement said the case had been "referred to the concerned judicial authorities." Cases of espionage are tried at military courts in Lebanon – Albawaba.com
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