Hezbollah says it found Israeli spy device in southern Lebanon
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Hezbollah says it found Israeli spy device in southern Lebanon

Terror group claims equipment found on Barouk mountain was remotely detonated by Israel, which 'feared its discovery'

Dov Lieber is The Times of Israel's Arab affairs correspondent.

A member of the Hezbollah terror group holds Lebanese and Hezbollah flags during a press tour near the border town of Arsal on July 25, 2017. (AFP Photo/Stringer)
A member of the Hezbollah terror group holds Lebanese and Hezbollah flags during a press tour near the border town of Arsal on July 25, 2017. (AFP Photo/Stringer)

The Lebanese terror Group Hezbollah said on Sunday that its forces uncovered Israeli espionage equipment in southern Lebanon.

The group said, through its media mouthpiece al-Manar and social media arm al-‘ilam al-Harbi, that a technical team discovered a Israeli spying device on the “strategic heights” of Barouk mountain in the Bekaa valley, overlooking the village of Saghbine.

The report said the device had been remotely exploded by Israel some time ago “out of fear it would be discovered,” and that its pieces were scattered throughout the area.

The device was said to be encased in fiberglass and disguised as a rock. It was also powered by electric solar panels, the report said.

Hezbollah posted images of the location of where the device was discovered and its scattered parts.

Lebanese officials have claimed to find Israeli listening devices in Lebanon before, including two in 2015, and two in 2010 that were found hidden in rocks.

In October 2015, Lebanese soldiers claimed to have found a rock concealing an Israeli spying device in the town of Bani Hayyan, around four kilometers (two miles) from the border with Israel.

Local media at the time reported the device was found in an area that “used to host an Israeli post during [Israel’s] occupation of Lebanon.”

Israel withdrew from the so-called South Lebanon Security Belt — a strip of land several kilometers wide along the Lebanese-Israeli border on Lebanon’s side — in a hastily organized operation in May 2000, after maintaining a presence there since the First Lebanon War in 1982.

In 2014, Hezbollah claimed an Israeli army drone blew up a spying device after it was uncovered near Tyre. One person was killed in that incident, according to Lebanese reports.

The Lebanese army also recently claimed to have uncovered an Israeli spying operation. In May, Lebanon’s official state media announced that an Iraqi man spying for Israel had been arrested. He allegedly admitted that he was asked by Israel to provide information on the Lebanese army and Lebanese government officials, as well as to enlist other operatives to setup a spy network in Lebanon.

In January, Lebanese security officials said they had apprehended an Israeli spy cell operating in the country, which they said comprised a Lebanese citizen, a Palestinian refugee and two Nepalese women. Lebanese officials claimed the five had confessed to the accusations, and had confirmed providing information to Israeli officials in phone calls to embassies in Turkey, Jordan, Nepal and the UK.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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