Friday, May 22, 2009

Lebanon spy cases highlight Mideast espionage


BEIRUT (AP) — The Middle East's espionage wars are heating up after Lebanon's arrest of more than a dozen alleged Israeli spies, and dire warnings from Jerusalem that Arab groups are trying to use the Internet to infiltrate the Jewish state.
Officials in Beirut say they struck a strategic blow against Israel with the recent arrests of 15 people who they contend were gathering intelligence on Hezbollah positions, leaders' movements and infrastructure targets. Iranian-backed Hezbollah militants and Israeli forces fought an inconclusive war in 2006 along the Lebanese-Israeli border and both sides have since been preparing for the possibility of another.
Although Israel and its Arab neighbors have for years spied on each other, the recent announcements have highlighted the secret war of espionage and the depth of the infiltration. Lebanese officials say the spies arrested there included a math teacher and housewife, and that they were equipped with sophisticated electronics.
In Israel, meanwhile, the Shin Bet internal intelligence service this week urged people to be careful when using social networking sites such as Facebook, contending Arab groups are using them to recruit and hire spies. In one instance, Israeli intelligence said an Israeli Facebook user was contacted by a man who introduced himself as a Lebanese agent and offered money for information.

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