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Lebanese security forces detain journalist on charge of espionage for Israel

A statue of soldier carries balance, symbol of justice, is seen outside the military court in Beirut, Lebanon, on May 27, 2020. (Photo by AP)

Lebanese security forces have arrested a journalist on charges of spying for Israel's Mossad spy agency and collaboration with Israeli authorities through writing defamatory articles about the Hezbollah resistance movement and turning the public opinion against the group.

Lebanon’s Arabic-language al-Akhbar daily newspaper, citing judicial sources, reported that the Lebanese journalist wrote “dozens” of anti-Hezbollah pieces at the request of the Tel Aviv regime, receiving between $300 and $700 per article.

The news platform the journalist was writing for, according to the report, was al-Jaras magazine.

The journalist was also told to draw connections between Hezbollah and the massive August 4, 2020 explosion at the port of Beirut, which killed more than 200 people and wounded 6,500 others.

He crafted false evidence in his pieces, and faulty analyses designed to implicate Hezbollah in the devastating blast, and pit ordinary Lebanese people against the resistance group.

The judicial sources said that the suspect was asked if he knew he was working for Israel, when he wrote the anti-Hezbollah pieces.

The report said that despite claiming he was unaware and doubtful that his ’employers’ were linked to the Tel Aviv regime, the spy continued to write the pieces out of financial advantages.

The Lebanese al-Manar television network identified the journalist as Mohammed Shoaib, saying he saw an advertisement for a foreign company on a website and then contacted the firm.

The company offered him a monthly salary in exchange for writing a number of articles a month.

Al-Manar added it did not take long before Shoaib was contacted by an Israeli man named Tom. Tom asked the Lebanese journalist to report on political issues.

The pieces were asked to be in the interest of Persian Gulf Arab states, drawing on a hostile language against Hezbollah and Palestinian Hamas resistance movement.

According to informed sources, Tom not only specified the titles and political topics of the articles for Shoaib, but also asked the Lebanese journalist to publish his pieces on a number of websites, including Alkalima online and Lebanon 24.

Last month, the al-Akhbar newspaper reported that the country’s security forces had uncovered at least 17 Israeli spy networks.

According to the report, each of the rings operated independently across Lebanon and in neighboring Syria. The paper called the discovery “one of Lebanon’s biggest security operations” since 2009.

The operation reportedly began four weeks ago, when the Lebanese Internal Security Forces Directorate began tracking the spying networks, which were reportedly tasked with collecting information on Hezbollah and various Palestinian factions in the country.

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