Hezbollah actively coordinated with Lebanon’s security services on the arrest of a retired general suspected of spying for Israel, the Shiite movement’s deputy chief said on Wednesday.
"Security forces monitored the movements of Adib al-Aalam and asked Hezbollah for information on him," Sheikh Naim Qassem told AFP in an interview.
Aalam was arrested alongside his wife at his office near Beirut on suspicion of having provided Israel with information for the past decade on Lebanese security services and the Shiite Muslim militant group.
Though retired, Aalam continued to maintain an office at the general directorate for Internal Security Forces, which he allegedly turned into a communications center for passing information to the Israelis.
"Preliminary information indicates he had been working as a spy for Israel for over 25 years and retired from his position in national security eight years ago," Qassem said, adding that Aalam’s wife was also implicated in the spy operation.
"His arrest was a major achievement," Qassem said.
He added, however, that this did not mean that Israel’s network had been busted in Lebanon.
"Israel works vertically, and not horizontally. It collaborates with two or three people, and if one network is caught, it may not point in the direction of the other networks," Qassem said.
Several Arrested in Recent Months
The retired general is the latest among a number of Lebanese arrested in recent months on suspicion of spying for Israel, a charge punishable by death in Lebanon, which remains technically in a state of war with the Jewish state.
Lebanon’s state prosecutor in March demanded the death penalty for Yusef and Ali Jarrah, two brothers from the Bekaa region of eastern Lebanon who were detained last year by Hezbollah.
The prosecution alleges that the brothers were recruited by Israel’s Mossad spy agency in the early 1980s and gathered information on the Shiite group, Lebanese army positions and Palestinian groups in the country.
In February, the Lebanese army also detained a man from the southern town of Nabatiyeh on suspicion that he spied for Israel. He has not yet been charged.
In 2006, Israel fought a devastating month-long war with Hezbollah that killed more than 1,200 Lebanese, mostly civilians, and more than 160 Israelis, mostly soldiers.
(Alarabiya.net and AFP)