Photo: AP
Spying on Hizbullah?
Photo: AP
Lebanon arrests three Israel 'spies'
Two brothers among detainees in alleged spy ring case, in which 16 people have been arrested so far

Lebanese authorities arrested three people, including two brothers, on suspicion of spying for Israel on Friday, bringing the count of those detained for spying in 2009 to 16, a security official said.


The two brothers "are being questioned and their houses are being searched," the official told AFP on condition of anonymity, adding that they were taken into custody in the town of Ghaziye, near the south Lebanon port of Sidon.


A third suspect was arrested on charges of espionage in south Lebanon later on Friday, he added without giving details.


The authorities have arrested close to 20 people on suspicion of spying for Israel since January but the official said that three of them had been released, apparently for lack of evidence.


Retired brigadier general Adeeb al-Alam was arrested along with his wife Hayat Saloumi and nephew Joseph Al-Aalam in April on suspicion of espionage – a charge punishable by life imprisonment or death in Lebanon, which remains technically in a state of war with Israel.


They are accused of informing Israel about Lebanese and Syrian military and civilian sites "with the aim of facilitating Israeli attacks," a judicial official said last month.


Alam was arrested at his office near Beirut on April 14 along with his wife. He ran a housekeeping service which he allegedly used as a front to spy for Israel.


Lebanese policeman Haytham Sahmarani was arrested with his wife on Sunday in Beirut's southern suburbs, a stronghold of the Shiite militant group Hezbollah which fought a devastating 2006 war with Israel.


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