Lebanon warns that Israel is seeking to insert spies posing as tourists
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Lebanon warns that Israel is seeking to insert spies posing as tourists

Local press says online offers of organized trips are cover for effort to recruit agents who will spy for the Jewish state

Tourists takes pictures, as the sun sets over the Mediterranean Sea in Beirut, Lebanon, on June 30, 2017. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar/File)
Tourists takes pictures, as the sun sets over the Mediterranean Sea in Beirut, Lebanon, on June 30, 2017. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar/File)

Lebanese security officials have warned of Israeli plans to infiltrate the nation with spies through tourism initiatives, Lebanese media reported Wednesday.

The Lebanese public security agency urged tour operators to be wary of online initiatives for organized trips, claiming that these were being used by Israel in an attempt to recruit agents and use them to gather intelligence.

The details of the alleged plot were not elaborated upon.

Last month, Lebanese intelligence said it arrested a Lebanese-Canadian dual national on suspicion of spying for Israel.

From time to time, Lebanon claims to arrest Israeli spies, though Israel does not comment on such accusations. Between 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.

Also Wednesday, Lebanon National Defense Minister Elias Bou Saab ruled out the possibility of a war with Israel, asserting during a tour of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon headquarters that Beirut’s deterrence over the years has prevented such a reality from unfolding.

However, he warned that “If Israel bombards our airport, we will bombard its airport. If it strikes our oil facilities, we will strike its oil facilities.”

Lebanon and Israel remain technically in a state of war, with occasional skirmishes along their shared border.

In 2006, a Hezbollah attack on an Israeli border patrol sparked a month-long war with the Jewish state that devastated parts of Lebanon.

Hezbollah, a terror group that forms part of the Lebanese government and holds sway over much of Lebanon’s southern border region, is funded and armed by its patron Iran.

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