Two Lebanese men suspected of spying on behalf of Israel have fled to Israel, Lebanese officials said Monday. Both reportedly brought their families as well. Another suspect reportedly fled last week.
The two entered Israel Monday morning via a gate near Kibbutz Bar Am, the officials told international media. One of the two was identified as 49-year-old Eli Maroun Hayek, a professor of mathematics. Hayek fled with his wife and three sons.
According to Lebanese media, Lebanon's government has turned to the United Nations with a request that the two escapees be tracked down and returned.
Lebanon has arrested at least 25 people so far this year on suspicion of belonging to unrelated rings spying for Israel. Others have been held for questioning. One of those arrested was retired Lebanese general Adib Alam.
Lebanese officials say some suspects have confessed to spying on behalf of Israel for several years.
The discovery of the alleged spy ring came just weeks before a parliamentary election that will see Lebanon's current majority coalition in what is predicted will be a tight race against pro-Syrian elements led by Hizbullah.
Lebanon is officially at war with Israel. The sentence for spying for Israel is life in prison or death.