The Lebanese army has arrested a man who allegedly collaborated with Israeli secret agents operating in the country, security officials in Beirut reportedly said Saturday.
According to Saudi daily newspaper Okaz, the man, dubbed by Lebanese officials as F. Yassin, held covert meetings with Israeli spies in a tourist resort which he owned in the country’s south.
The south Lebanon region is a major stronghold of Shiite terrorist group Hezbollah, and many of the organization’s primary bases are located in the area.
The Saudi daily further reported that the suspect is believed to possess key information regarding the whereabouts and undercover operations of Israeli agents in Lebanon, especially in the country’s south.
Israeli officials did not comment on the report.
In a speech earlier this month, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah stated that his group was “fully ready in southern Lebanon,” in an apparent reference to the possibility of future conflict with Israel.
Addressing thousands of Lebanese Shiites in a rare public appearance for the Ashura holiday in southern Beirut, Naharnet reported, he said the group’s activities fighting in support of the Syrian regime had not affected its battle readiness.
Hezbollah’s campaign in Syria has cost the group over 1,000 fighters, according to some reports.
“Israel’s threats of another war on Lebanon do not stem from its power because it has lost hope and is concerned… The resistance is a real threat to Israel,” said Nasrallah.
“Israelis are saying in the media that they would have to close down the Ben Gurion Airport and the Haifa port and yes, that’s true,” said Nasrallah, the Daily Star reported.
“You should close all of your airports and your ports because there is no place extending on the land of occupied Palestine that the resistance’s rockets cannot reach.”
In September, an Israeli TV report said the Israeli army is “making plans and training” for “a very violent war” against Hezbollah in south Lebanon, without specifying when this war might break out.
The report, for which the army gave Israel’s Channel 2 access to several of its positions along the border with Lebanon, featured an IDF brigade commander warning that such a conflict “will be a whole different story” from the Israel-Hamas conflict in which over 2,000 Gazans (half of them gunmen according to Israel) and 72 Israelis were killed. “We will have to use considerable force” to quickly prevail over the Iranian-backed Hezbollah, “to act more decisively, more drastically,” said Colonel Dan Goldfus, commander of the 769th Hiram Infantry Brigade.
The report said Hezbollah has an estimated 100,000 rockets — 10 times as many as were in the Hamas arsenal — and that its 5,000 long-range missiles, located in Beirut and other areas deep inside Lebanon, are capable of carrying large warheads (of up to 1 ton and more), with precision guidance systems, covering all of Israel. Other IDF sources have indicated Hezbollah may have some 150,000 rockets.
Israel’s Iron Dome rocket defense system would not be able to cope with that kind of challenge, and thus the IDF would have to “maneuver fast” and act forcefully to prevail decisively in the conflict, Goldfus said.
AFP contributed to this report.