BEIRUT: Lebanon said on Monday it had busted at least 17 suspected Israeli spy networks in one of the largest nationwide crackdowns in recent years, with a judicial source reporting 21 arrests.

Interior minister Bassam Mawlawi told cabinet that security forces had “clamped down on 17 spy networks working for Israel,” acting information minister Abbas Halabi said after the meeting.

Neighbouring Lebanon and Israel remain in an official state of war. Halabi said the rings operated both “locally and regionally,” without giving elaborating or confirming how many people had been arrested.

The arrests were part of an operation carried out by Lebanon’s Internal Security Forces (ISF).

Prime Minister Najib Mikati said the arrests had helped stop “efforts to tamper with security and sabotage the stability of the country,” according to a cabinet statement read by Halabi.

Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri praised the operation as a “unique achievement.” Al-Akhbar, a newspaper supportive of Lebanon’s powerful Hezbollah movement, reported the busts on Monday, calling it the largest operation against suspected Israeli agents in the country for 13 years.

Published in Dawn, February 1st, 2022

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