Middle East

Israel soldier among arrested 'Hezbollah spies'

A boy takes part in a demonstration at the Lebanese-Israeli border in Kfar Kila, southern Lebanon, 2 June
Image caption Security is tight along the Israel-Lebanon border

Israel has arrested a soldier and several civilians suspected of spying for Lebanese militant group Hezbollah and smuggling drugs into Lebanon.

The unnamed warrant officer is accused of passing intelligence to Lebanese drug dealers, an army statement said.

Israel and Hezbollah fought a war in 2006, and Lebanon and Israel remain technically in a state of war.

Lebanon began its own crackdown on suspected Israeli spy networks last year and has arrested about 70 people.

The most recent detention came last week, when Lebanese security forces arrested a technician working for a mobile telephone network on charges of spying for Israel for the past 15 years.

'Critical information'

The Israeli army said it would file charges against the soldier and the other suspects in the coming days.

"It is suspected that an IDF warrant officer and a number of Israeli civilians were in contact with Lebanese drug dealers so as to smuggle drugs over the border," the Israeli army statement said.

"According to the investigation, it is alleged that the warrant officer passed on military-security information to Lebanese drug dealers," it said.

It said the other suspects also passed on "critical information" to the Lebanese contacts.

The statement did not identify the soldier or give further details on the civilians.

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