A Lebanese telecommunications executive has been accused by the Hizbullah terrorist organization of working for the Mossad, Israel's intelligence agency.
According to a report published in the daily Al-Liwaa newspaper, Lebanese Army forces arrested Charbel Qazzi, an executive at Lebanon's Alfa mobile phone network, on suspicion of spying for Israel. A second newspaper, the Ad-Diyar daily, said that two of Qazzi's assistants had also been arrested by security forces, and their equipment had been confiscated.
Hizbullah MP Hassan Fadlallah announced the arrest Tuesday at a news conference in Beirut. "Israel has managed to seize technical control of the telecommunications network and to harm national security thanks to information provided by the collaborator over past years," Fadlallah told reporters. "This is an Israeli collaborator who has been active since 1996 and who for 14 years has been giving the enemy vital information on Lebanese communications and security."
Qazzi allegedly confessed to planting programs and special electronic chips provided to him by Israel in the company's transmission stations, according to a report published by the As-Safir newspaper.
Lebanese President Michel Sleiman commented in a statement issued by his office on Tuesday that Qazzi was just one link in a chain of Israeli agents arrested by the Lebanese Army. Earlier in the week, Lebanon's Telecommunications Minister Charbel Nahhas told the AFP news agency that an Alfa technician had been arrested on suspicion of spying for Israel.
More than 70 people have been arrested in Lebanon in the past 15 months, all on charges of spying for Israel – including a number of highly-placed military officials.
A Lebanese Army colonel who was accused of collaborating with Israel told a military tribunal Tuesday that he had been diagnosed with schizophrenia and has been taking medication for more than 20 years. The Daily Star reported that Colonel Shahid Tournieh refused during interrogation to be referred to as an agent, and told investigators, “I am not an agent. The confessions from my first statement are not at all true.”
Israel has not commented on the arrests.