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Lebanon Charges 4 with Collaborating with Israel | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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BEIRUT, (AP) – Lebanon charged four people with collaborating with Israel on Saturday, raising to 23 the number of suspected spies who have been charged in the last few months, a court official said.

Since the recent crackdown began in April, Lebanon has arrested 35 people on suspicion of spying for Israel, the country’s archenemy, Lebanese police commander Brig. Gen. Ashraf Rifi told The Associated Press.

Lebanon considers itself at war with Israel and bans its citizens from having any contact with the Jewish state. Spying for or collaborating with Israel can be punishable by death.

Military prosecutor Saqr Saqr also charged the four men Saturday with providing Israel with information about civilian and military positions and political figures, said a court official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the media.

Israel has refused in the past to comment on the spying allegations.

Lebanese army commander Gen. Jean Kahwaji vowed to continue the crackdown against Israeli spies in a speech to troops Saturday, the state news agency reported.

Meanwhile, the Lebanese army sent a message to its troops warning them against Israeli attempts to infiltrate the military. Saturday’s warning came only days after security officials said authorities detained a Lebanese army colonel on suspicion of spying for Israel in the first case involving a high-ranking military officer.

Some of the 23 people who have been charged are still at large. Those in custody have all been accused of providing intelligence to Israel on the militant group Hezbollah, which fought a 34-day war with Israel in 2006 that killed 1,200 people in Lebanon and 159 in Israel.

Lebanese officials have said three suspected spies fled across the border to Israel.