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Lebanon arrests 185 suspected of spying for Israel

Police in Beirut, Lebanon on 8 May 2017 [Ratib Al Safadi/Anadolu Agency]
Police in Beirut, Lebanon on 8 May 2017 [Ratib Al Safadi/Anadolu Agency]

Lebanese security forces have arrested a record 185 people on suspicion of spying for Israel since the start of its economic collapse three years ago, two security officials told AFP yesterday.

The number is a record high compared to previous years when four or five suspects were arrested per year, according to one security source.

Between April 2009 and 2014, nearly 100 people were arrested on charges of spying for Israel, most of them were military personnel or employees of the telecommunications sector.

A security official told AFP that since 2019, "the Lebanese security forces have arrested 185 people, including 182 who were recruited after the start of the economic crisis."

"Of the 185, so far 165 had been prosecuted and 25 convicted and sentenced," he said.

According to the same source, "two suspects have sent e-mails to the Mossad asking to work with it."

A second security official explained that the main reason for the surge in the number of Lebanese people spying for Israel is the economic crisis which left many people desperate for cash.

In January 2022, a prominent judicial official revealed that 21 people had been arrested as part of a security operation to dismantle 17 spy networks for Israel.

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