Interrogation with a Russian in Beirut on suspicion of espionage for Israel

Interrogation with a Russian in Beirut on suspicion of espionage for Israel

The military judiciary in Lebanon is investigating a Russian citizen on suspicion of spying on Hezbollah for Israel, a security official told AFP on Monday.

The security official explained that the Lebanese security authorities obtained information from Hezbollah, the most prominent political and military force in Lebanon and the sworn enemy of Israel, stating that the Russian citizen "was recruited by the Israelis and asked to explore headquarters in the southern suburbs of Beirut and southern Lebanon."

After he tried to reach an apartment in the southern suburbs, Hezbollah informed the security authorities about him, and they stopped him about two weeks ago while he was trying to leave the country at Beirut International Airport, accompanied by his wife and their child.

After the Lebanese General Security finished listening to him, he was referred to the military judiciary, which is currently expanding its investigation with him.

And the Acting Director General of General Security, Major General Elias Al-Bisari, announced during the celebration of the General Security Day, Friday, that "a network of two people had been arrested at Beirut airport who had links with the enemy and were in charge of internal operations."

"We interrogated them and referred them to the competent military judiciary," he added, without revealing the nationality of the detainees.

The Russian news agency "RIA Novosti" on Saturday quoted the Russian embassy in Beirut as saying that it was "aware of the arrest of Russian citizens and is taking the necessary steps to clarify the circumstances" surrounding the incident.

Lebanon and Israel are at enmity. In July 2006, Israel launched a devastating attack on Lebanon that lasted 33 days, and came after Hezbollah captured two Israeli soldiers at the border. The conflict killed 1,200 people in Lebanon, most of them civilians, and 160 Israelis, most of them soldiers.

Over the years, the Lebanese security services have arrested dozens of individuals and networks on suspicion of dealing with Israel. Court rulings were issued against a number of detainees, which amounted to 25 years in prison.

The security forces have monitored an increase in the number of those arrested on the same charge since the start of the economic collapse three years ago in a country where most of its population is below the poverty line.