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27 Aug, 2023 20:50

Russians arrested on suspicion of spying for Israel – media

A couple has reportedly been detained on espionage charges while trying to leave Lebanon
Russians arrested on suspicion of spying for Israel – media

Two Russian nationals – a married couple – have been detained at Beirut’s international airport while trying to leave the country, according to media reports.

The arrest was first revealed by the head of Lebanon’s General Directorate of General Security, Elias Al-Baysari, who said on Friday that a “spy network” consisting of two individuals has been dismantled by the country’s counterintelligence. Al-Baysari, however, did not elaborate on the nationality of the suspects.

“We carried out the necessary investigations, and this cell posed a threat to Lebanon,” the spy chief stated.

According to sources of the Lebanese newspaper Al-Akhbar, the arrested Russian national admitted to his wrongdoing. His wife also confessed that she had been aware of her husband’s alleged activities and had been “helping” him, the sources claimed.

“The Russian national admitted that he has been recently recruited by the Israeli intelligence and was instructed to go to Lebanon. He was provided with maps of places and installations used by the Hezbollah movement. He was ordered to go to these addresses, inspect them and, if possible, take pictures,” the newspaper wrote on Saturday.

The suspect frequented southern Lebanon, repeatedly traveling to snoop on his designated targets, according to the newspaper. The Russian mission to the country has been properly notified of the arrest, the report noted.

Russia’s embassy in Lebanon confirmed it was aware of the affair, telling RIA Novosti it has been working to establish further details of the situation. It did not reveal any information about the arrested couple. 

“The Embassy is aware of the current situation with the detention of Russian citizens in Lebanon and is taking the necessary steps to get the details from the Lebanese side,” the embassy told the news agency.

AP further reported on the matter on Monday, citing two Lebanese judicial officials, who said the two Russian citizens ended up in the country’s custody “several weeks ago.”