Lebanese security authorities managed to bust more than fifteen Israeli spy rings in one of the biggest security operations since 2009, Lebanese daily Al-Akhbar reported on Monday.
The Information Branch of Lebanon’s Internal Security Forces (ISF) started the operation five weeks ago by tracking the networks which were operating in several areas across the country, according to the report.
The rings were tasked with collecting information of Hezbollah and various Palestinian factions in Lebanon, Al-Akhbar reported.
In total, 20 suspects were arrested, and 35 others were summoned for questioning, the daily said.
The ISF’s Information Branch first discovered two spies: “the first was within the branch itself and the second was a Hezbollah member who was recruited by an organization claiming to be working for the United Nations.”
Al-Akhbar also said that a Syrian national was arrested in Damascus by Syrian authorities which coordinated with Hezbollah security apparatus. The Syrian suspect was collecting maps of roads and buildings in the Syrian capital.
Several workers in nonprofit organizations in Lebanon were also arrested for their part in the spy rings. One of them was said to have collected information about houses and other properties in Beirut’s southern suburb (Dahiyeh) and south Lebanon, the paper added.
Some of the suspects were also collecting information of Palestinian Resistance factions, especially Hamas, according to Al-Akhbar.
“During investigation, the Informational Branch of ISF managed to know the way of contact between the suspects and the sides who run them,” Al-Akhbar said, adding that the Israeli security apparatus “adopted this time a new way in recruiting the spies in Lebanon.”
“Most of the recruitments were via social media and the Israeli enemy exploited from the harsh economic conditions Lebanon has been going through.”
As for the financial expenses, they were received through money transfer firms, with the transactions being transferred by people or sides from countries in Latin America, eastern Europe, Africa and Asia, Al-Akhbar added.
Elaborating more on the issue, the daily said one of the detainees, whose first name was Sergio and works for an organization that emerged following October 17 protests, confessed to receiving money to buy face masks with prints on them reading “All means all, Nasrallah one of them.”