A Lebanese lieutenant colonel has gone missing, and military officials there as well as the officer's family believe he fled to Israel after coming under suspicion of spying for Israeli intelligence.
Daher Jarjoui, a resident of the southern Lebanese village of Qlayaa, was the Lebanese Armed Forces' liaison with a Spanish company in the UNIFIL peacekeeping force along the Israeli border.
A childhood acquaintance of the man told Haaretz Wednesday that the officer's relatives think he fled to Israel.
"Family members have been looking for him for a week, and they don't know where he is. They believe he fled because Lebanese security services are denying arresting him, and they usually report such arrests in detail," the acquaintance said.
Moreover, he said, the village of Qlayaa is just a few kilometers from Metula and Israel's northern border, and therefore the officer could have reached the border fence.
He said the missing officer is 44 years old and unmarried, a Maronite Christian and a respected figure in his community.
The officer had strong anti-Israel political views, he said, and would not have been expected to collaborate with Israel.
"We were childhood friends and in the mid-1980s we registered for the Lebanese military academy together. He was accepted and I wasn't, and he advanced nicely," he said. "He is a straightforward and very serious man, and if he truly did what is being suggested, perhaps it's because he tired of what was happening in Lebanon and Hezbollah's control over the country."
Lebanon's Al-Akhbar daily reported extensively about the officer's disappearance Wednesday, quoting sources who said the man was last seen at his mother's home in his village last Wednesday. When he left, he told her he was going to his apartment in the central Lebanese city of Baabda and would return the next day.
After several days passed without a trace of the man, his family reported his disappearance to Lebanese Army intelligence.
Troops found his BMW vehicle parked outside his Baabda residence. They broke into his apartment, where they found his military mobile phone off and no signs of a struggle.
The Lebanese military has yet to officially comment on the man's disappearance, but army sources said they believe he fled after intensive investigations by Lebanese security services produced suspicions that he had spied for Israel.
The sources said he also may have been arrested by the military, and that his family simply was not informed.
Two members of the missing officer's military academy class, lieutenant colonels Mansour Diab and Shahid Toumiyeh, were arrested on suspicion of spying for Israel.
Lebanon's spy probe has led to more than 50 arrests, and 20 the detainees have been charged.
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