BEIRUT: Hezbollah is not commenting on a local newspaper report that claims it cracked a Beirut-based spy network last month entrusted with gathering information on the resistance party for an unnamed Western country.
When contacted by The Daily Star Monday about the same day’s report in An-Nahar, Loyalty to the Resistance bloc MP Ali Fayyad said he did not have information regarding the alleged spy cell.
“I cannot comment on the issue. I don’t have any information about it,” Fayyad said.
The report by the local daily said the spy network comprised three men and was based in Beirut’s southern suburbs, a Hezbollah stronghold. Two of the network’s members were identified as original residents of Burj al-Barajneh while the third was said to hail from a village in the Bekaa.
The paper added that the spies were not members of Hezbollah but had good relations with people in the resistance party.
In June of last year, Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah boasted that the party had identified at least two spies working for the Central Intelligence Agency of the United States who had infiltrated the ranks of the party. He proceeded to dub the U.S. Embassy in Lebanon a “den of spies.”
The report by An-Nahar also said the most dangerous member of the cell uncovered last month is a Lebanese who was supposedly detained for two years in Paris but during the period in question was actually working for a Western intelligence agency.
According to the report, the spy was tasked by the intelligence agency with returning to Lebanon and monitoring the movements of a Hezbollah official with whom he was friends.
The Hezbollah official, the report said, lives in Burj al-Barajneh near the residence of the alleged spy and is thought to have been involved in 1980s-era Beirut operations “that targeted the interests of big countries.”
Information An-Nahar claims to have obtained indicates that the spy’s ultimate mission was to lure the Hezbollah official to a place where Western intelligence agents would arrest him.
The nature of the mission delegated to the other two members of the alleged spy cell is not known, the paper said.
Nasrallah is expected to make a speech on July 18 in commemoration of the sixth anniversary of the July 2006 war between Lebanon and Israel. Sources told An-Nahar that during that speech, Nasrallah will touch on the issue of the alleged Beirut spy network.