Aoun Orders Complaint against Israel over Air Breach as Spy Networks Busted
President Michel Aoun on Monday asked Foreign Minister Abdallah Bou Habib to file a U.N. Security Council complaint against Israel over its violation of Lebanon’s airspace to carry out an overnight strike on Syria.
Aoun made the request during a Cabinet session in Baabda, in which Interior Minister Bassam al-Mawlawi briefed the conferees on the busting of “17 spy networks that were working for the Israeli enemy” inside Lebanon.
“It turned out that the role of these networks is domestic and regional,” Mawlawi told Cabinet.
Prime Minister Najib Miqati for his part hailed “the Intelligence Branch of the Internal Security Forces over this major achievement.”
“Busting these networks once again proves the importance of preemptive security and strong coordination among the various security agencies concerned with protecting Lebanon,” the premier added.
Al-Akhbar newspaper reported the busts on Monday, calling it the largest operation against suspected Israeli agents in the country for 13 years.
It said that the ISF's intelligence unit started the crackdown four weeks ago and had so far detained around 20 people, including Lebanese, Palestinian and Syrian nationals -- some of whom were later released.
The al-Akhbar report claimed that at least 12 of the suspects in detention were aware they working for Israel, while the rest believed they were providing information for global companies or non profit organizations.
Israel and Hizbullah fought a 33-day war in Lebanon in 2006.
Between April 2009 and 2014, Lebanese authorities detained more than 100 people accused of spying for Israel, most of them members of the military or telecom employees. The rate of arrests, however, had declined in recent years.