Lebanon busts Israeli spy ring
- Jarrah's spy equipment found in Lebanon
Tue, 11 Nov 2008
A photo of Ali Jarrar published by daily As-Safir
The Lebanese Army has raided the residence of two Lebanese brothers
accused of spying for the Israeli intelligence agency, Mossad.
During the search operation, the army found sophisticated
communication and surveillance equipment, the Lebanese daily As-Safir
The paper added that it was in possession of an exclusive photo
of "the operation room" of the two brothers identified as Ali and
Last week, As-Safir reported that the two alleged spies had been
involved in passing information about various Lebanese activities to
An earlier Lebanese Army statement said that the members of the spy
ring had 'confessed to gathering information about politicians and
The detainees were also involved in 'espionage activities against
Members of Israeli spy ring 'related to 9/11 hijacker'
'Lebanon is an open theater for espionage'
By Andrew Wander
Monday, November 03, 2008
BEIRUT: Two men arrested for running an Israeli spy ring in the Bekaa
Valley are relatives of a suicide hijacker who piloted a plane in the
September 11, 2001, attacks, a security source told The Daily Star on
Sunday. The Lebanese Army announced on Saturday that it had arrested
two people suspected of involvement with a spy network that gathered
information for Israel's intelligence services.
The army said that the men had been arrested on Friday, but the
source said that they were actually captured two weeks ago and the
discovery of the arrests by the media prompted the army to announce
The army said the men had admitted "gathering information on
political party offices and monitoring the movements of party figures
for the enemy."
The statement added that the men had been found with "communications
devices and other sophisticated equipment," which they used to gather
information and transmit it to Mossad agents.
Speaking on the condition of anonymity, the source said the men are
relatives of Ziad Jarrah, the Lebanese who helped commandeer United
Airlines Flight 93 before it crashed into a Pennsylvania field on
September 11, 2001, killing everyone on board. Jarrah's family is
from the town of Al-Marej in the Bekaa Valley, where the arrests took
The Jarrah family have repeatedly denied that Ziad was part of the
September 11 plot, claiming he was instead a innocent passenger on
the plane, but an official investigation concluded that he was a
senior member of the hijacking team who had undergone flight training
in order to carry out the attacks.
Residents of Al-Marej told As-Safir newspaper that the men were
arrested when security forces raided a home in the town and seized
equipment from a car. The newspaper said investigators had found
documents which prove that the men had been in contact with Israeli
intelligence agents. Investigators said that the men had passed
information about the location of Lebanese and Syrian army outposts
to the Israelis.
One of the two men arrested, identified only by his
initials "A.D.J.," is believed to have been the head of the spy ring.
Security sources told The Daily Star that the man was a member of the
Palestinian militant group Fatah al-Intifadah, which is known to be
active along the Syrian border.
The other man who was arrested is said to be a relative of "A.D.J."
and was allegedly involved in conducting reconnaissance work for
Mossad in the Bekaa Valley.
Investigators said that the spy ring had been active in the area
since the late 1980s.
Retired General Elias Hanna told The Daily Star that Lebanon provided
the perfect environment for spies to operate. "Lebanon is an open
theater for espionage and counter-espionage," he said. "It has all
the elements that are needed in international and regional conflict."
But he said that if the group had been operating since the 1980s it
would be surprising. "That's 20 years," he said. "That's a long
period of time."
The timing of the arrests was also surprising, he said, given that
senior officials in the Lebanese Army had recently been replaced,
disrupting the continuity needed for counter-espionage operations.
"You have to work on these cases for a long period of time. It
requires information and long periods of monitoring," Hanna said.
"The previous period was chaotic in Lebanon, so I don't know how the
arrests happened," he added.
He said the group were probably trying to gather information about
Hizbullah, but would not have been able to infiltrate the
group. "Hizbullah is an intelligence-proof entity," he said. "It
operates with a very high level of secrecy. If you cannot get inside
it, you study its environment. This is what we are seeing."
Investigators say the men were tasked with monitoring the movements
of senior political figures in the Bekaa region, which lies on the
main route between Beirut and Damascus.
Officials are also investigating a theory that the group provided
intelligence to the Israelis that may have helped them plan the
killing of the senior Hizbullah military commander Imad Mughniyeh in
Damascus in February.
Hizbullah's leader, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, has accused Israel of
being behind the car bomb that killed Mughniyeh and has pledged that
the Shiite group will take revenge for his death.
An Israeli government spokesman refused to comment on the arrests.
"Every couple of weeks there is someone, somewhere accusing the
Mossad of something. As a rule, we don't comment on all these
accusations," the spokesman said on Sunday.
Meanwhile, the Lebanese Army denied the validity of media reports
that linked two men seen crossing the Lebanese-Israeli border on
Sunday with the case. In a statement issued on Sunday, the army said
that the reports were "confused."
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