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Lebanon to Accuse Israel of Espionage in UN

Lebanon to prepare detailed report to UN Security Council about spies for Israel who were convicted.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 7/22/2010, 2:03 AM / Last Update: 7/22/2010, 1:59 AM

Flash 90

Lebanon’s Information Minister Tareq Mitri said on Wednesday that his country will raise accusations of espionage against Israel at the United Nations Security Council.

In the last month Lebanon has detained two employees of the state-owned telecom company Alfa and two men have been sentenced to death. All four were convicted or suspected of spying for Israel.

Ali Mantash was sentenced to death on July 14 after he was convicted of transferring classified information to Israel that was used against Hizbullah in the 2006 Second Lebanon War. Mantash was arrested in April 2009.

On the same day that Mantash was sentencted, Alfa executive Charbel Qazzi was charged with spying for the Mossad, Israel’s intelligence agency. Two of Qazzi's assistants were also been arrested by security forces, and their equipment was confiscated. In June, a senior technician at Alfa who reportedly had access to “sensitive information” was arrested on similar charges.

Qazzi allegedly admitted that he had planted programs and special electronic chips provided to him by Israel in the company's transmission stations, according to a report in the As-Safir newspaper. If convicted, Qazzi could also receive the death sentence as Mantash did.

Lebanese President Michel Sleiman said at the time of Qazzi’s arrest that was just one link in a chain of Israeli agents arrested by the Lebanese Army. In fact, more than 70 people have been arrested in Lebanon in the past 15 months, all on charges of spying for Israel. The arrests have included a number of high ranking military officials.

Earlier on Wednesday (on the same day that Lebanon announced its intents regarding the UN) another man, Hassan Ahmed al-Hussein, was sentenced to death after having been convicted of providing information about Hizbullah to Israel in 2008. Among the charges al-Hussein faced were: giving Israel the names, addresses and details of houses of Hizbullah officials in the Lebanese village of Qantara, and providing information about other targets.

Information Minister Mitri, who spoke after a cabinet meeting, was quoted in Reuters as saying that the ministers in Lebanon’s unity government agreed unanimously “to raise a detailed report on the file of the agents to the (United Nations) Security Council."