The Lebanese government plans to file an official complaint against Israel with the United Nations Security Council over the extensive spy ring it claims to have uncovered in the last year, Haaretz learned on Wednesday.
Lebanon began a wave of arrests in April 2009 as part of an investigation in which dozens of people have been arrested on suspicion of spying for Israel. A retired brigadier general of the General Security Directorate was among the detainees. More than 20 people have been formally charged.
According to reports Wednesday, the Lebanese complaint to the United Nation's Security Council will center on Israel's alleged covert ties in the country's state-owned mobile telecom company Alfa.
"It was a unanimous vote at the cabinet session. The Lebanese government will send the formal complaint to the UN Security Council this week," a government source who requested anonymity told the German Press Agency DPA.
Last week, Lebanon has arrested a second employee of the state-owned mobile telecom Alfa on suspicion of spying for Israel.
The suspect, Tareq Raba, was described as a transmissions engineer who was "more dangerous" than Charbel Qazzi, a telecom technician who was arrested last month, Lebanese security sources said. If convicted, both men could face the death penalty.
The sources said Raba had been an Alfa employee since 1996 and began working for Israeli intelligence in 2001. He would leave Lebanon twice a month and return every time with at least $10,000 in cash, they said.
The Lebanese newspaper ad-Diyar reported last week that Lebanese security forces are compiling a comprehensive report on spy networks that have been uncovered within the country. The report will detail how security forces were able to track and break up the networks.
According to ad-Diyar, the security forces decided to compile the report after Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah, in a speech in Beirut on Saturday, accused the Lebanese security forces of knowing in advance about the alleged Alfa spy ring and failing to speedily arrest its members.
Hezbollah's al-Manar television station has reported that Lebanese military intelligence has launched a broad investigation into the country's communications networks, and is focusing intensively on the Alfa and MTC telecommunications companies.
Lebanon school principal sentenced to death over alleged Israel spying
A Lebanese military court on Wednesday sentenced a former school principal to death on charges of spying for Israel in 2008, a judicial source said.
Hasan Ahmed al-Hussein, 58, was found guilty of providing Israel with information about the Lebanese Shiite movement Hezbollah and its leadership, the source said.
Hezbollah fought a 33-day war against Israel in July 2006. Lebanon and Israel technically remain in a state of war.
According to Lebanese law, convicted spies face life in prison with hard labor or the death penalty if found guilty.
Ali Manstash, who has been in custody since April 2009, was sentenced to death last week over giving Israel locations of military and civilian targets bombed during the war and resulting in deaths, the officials said on condition of anonymity in line with regulations.
Earlier this year a Lebanese man was sentenced to death for masterminding a bombing in southern Lebanon that killed a senior member of the Palestinian militant group and his brother in 2006, judicial sources said.
The suspect, Mahmoud Rafee, was arrested in June 2006 and confessed to links with Israeli intelligence. A military court also sentenced Palestinian Hassan Khatab to death in absentia in the case.
Since last year, some 70 people have been arrested in Lebanon on charges of spying for Israel.
Israel has not commented on any of the Lebanese charges.
The 13-member Hezbollah bloc in the Lebanese parliament on Wednesday stressed "the need to uncover and execute individuals charged with collaborating with Israel."
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