Lebanon claims Israeli 'agent' arrested over anti-Hamas attack

Lebanon's army says it arrested a suspected Mossad agent over a failed bid to assassinate a Hamas official last year.

Ben Ariel ,

Israel-Lebanon border
Israel-Lebanon border
Hadas Parush/Flash90

Lebanon's army claimed on Tuesday to have arrested a suspected agent of Israel's Mossad spy agency over a failed bid to assassinate a Hamas official in the south of the country, AFP reported.

In January 14, 2018, Mohammed Hamdan, a security official with the Lebanese branch of the Hamas terrorist organization, was wounded in the leg in a car bomb blast in the southern Lebanese port city of Sidon.

Lebanon and Hamas both blamed Israel for the attack, as did Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah. Days after the blast, Beirut authorities said they had arrested a man suspected of involvement in the car bombing.

A statement at the time said he was "one of the main perpetrators of the crime, who confessed to being tasked by Israeli intelligence".

On Tuesday the Lebanese army said in a statement a second male suspect "who carried out surveillance" before last year's bombing had also been arrested.

The second suspect "has admitted to being a Mossad agent since 2014", it said, according to AFP, without specifying his nationality.

Hamas, which rules Gaza, operates branches elsewhere in the Middle East, including Lebanon, where its forces are in charge of security in neighborhoods of so-called “Palestinian refugees”.

There are thousands of people registered as Palestinian refugees in Israel’s neighboring countries, including Lebanon and Syria, where they have been caught in the Syrian civil war.

Palestinian refugees in Lebanon have limited work options and are refused citizenship.

In 2010, Lebanon sentenced a former security officer to death for allegedly collaborating with Israel to assassinate two Islamic Jihad leaders in Sidon. The country regularly accuses locals of collaborating with Israel.

In November of 2017, Lebanese writer and actor Ziad Itani was arrested on suspicions that he broke the law by "communicating" with Israelis. Later, however, Itani was released and Lebanese authorities subsequently charged an officer who they suspected of having framed him.