Lebanese Newspaper Implicates Gal Gadot in Israeli Spy Drama

Lebanese daily newspaper Al Liwaa printed a photo declaring Israeli actress is Mossad officer Collette Vianfi, who is accused of operating a prominent Lebanese actor to spy for Israel

Gal Gadot on the front page of the Lebanese daily Al Liwaa, November 27, 2017.

Lebanese newspaper printed Monday a lead image of Israeli actress Gal Gadot on its front page, claiming she was an "Israeli Mossad officer" involved in a case in which a Lebanese playwright and actor has been arrested and accused of spying for Israel.

Al Liwaa quickly apologized for implicating the actress in the story.

Authorities arrested Ziad Itani on Thursday for allegedly spying on Israel's behalf and, according to reports, he confessed during interrogation to being in contact with Israeli intelligence agents.

According to a statement issued by Lebanon's State Security Forces, Itani was assigned to tasks that included gathering information about public figures in Israel, in part by establishing relationships with people close to them, and focused his attention on two prominent political figures who were not named.

The statement said Itani was also instructed to cultivate relations with Lebanese figures who supported normalization with Israel

Al Liwaa reported that the photograph of Gal Gadot was widely shared on social media regarding the case, with users claiming it was a picture of the alleged Mossad agent Vianfi.

Gal Gadot has been public with her support for the IDF and Lebanon banned her hit film "Wonder Woman," due to her Israeli nationality.

According to the Lebanese media reports, the arrest of Itani, 42, followed several months of monitoring by Lebanese security forces. The forces gathered evidence of Itani's espionage activities as well as plans to carry out terror attacks designed to destabilize Lebanon. 

Friends and relatives of Itani confirmed the arrest but said there was no official statement regarding its circumstances.

Lebanese security and intelligence agencies recently arrested three Lebanese citizens for allegedly collaborating with Israel's Mossad espionage agency, the country's Al-Akhbar newspaper reported in October. According to the report, the three suspects admitted to being in contact with Israeli intelligence and instructed to gather information about activities of Hezbollah in Lebanon. The report said the suspects' handler was a Lebanese citizen living in Israel.

In May, Lebanese security forces announced the arrest of an Iraqi man for spying on Israel. According to the statement issued by the agency, the suspect confessed under interrogation to having been recruited by an individual from Israel's Defense Ministry.