The Lebanese Internal Security Forces (ISF) managed to dismantle 17 Israeli espionage networks on January 1, 2022, according to an announcement shared in the Lebanese media. The ISF shared details of the operation in a tweet, noting that each network was separate from the other and active in territories stretching all the way to Syria. It added that the Information Branch of the ISF had arrested more than 20 people on charges of colluding with Israel since 2009.
Nabih Berri, Speaker of the Lebanese Parliament, praised what he described as “the qualitative achievement made by the Information Division of the Internal Security Forces in exposing an espionage network working for the Israeli enemy inside Lebanon.”
Pro-Hezbollah Lebanese newspaper Al-Akhbar reported that about five weeks ago, the Information Branch began the largest security operation against Israeli espionage in its history. It came, Al-Akhbar said, after an officer informed the branch leadership that he had found signs of a security breach.
The newspaper added: “After a close examination of the suspect, it was found that he had a clear link to the Israeli enemy. Within four weeks, the branch was able to get hold of files related to dozens of other suspects that provide evidence of their involvement in providing the enemy directly or indirectly with sensitive data.”
The ISF, however, denied the newspaper’s allegations, adding in another statement published on its official website: “The General Directorate is surprised by the lack of sense of responsibility of this media outlet, especially because the investigations are not complete. When any investigation is complete, a detailed statement is issued by us about the findings.” The ISF also stressed that there was no evidence of any security breach, and no officers in this division or in any other security or military apparatus had been arrested. The ISF said the case was currently in the hands of “the competent judiciary” and urged the media to verify information before publishing it.