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Lebanon arrests spy suspect at leading telco

Israel had seized "technical control" of telecom network, says Hezbollah official

Lebanon's national security was damaged by the incident, according to Lebanese lawmaker.
Lebanon's national security was damaged by the incident, according to Lebanese lawmaker.

A senior technician at Alfa, one of Lebanon's two state-owned mobile operators, has been arrested on suspicion of spying for Israel, according to Lebanese security sources.

Army intelligence officials were questioning the suspect and had also arrested another "valuable catch", a source told Reuters.

The suspect apparently confessed to planting programs and electronic chips, provided to him by Israel's secret service agency, into Alfa's transmission stations, according to Lebanese Arabic daily, As-Safir.

Hassan Fadlallah, a lawmaker for Lebanese political organisation Hezbollah, told a news conference that Israel had effectively seized "technical control" of Lebanon's telecommunications network and said that the country's national security had been harmed by the alleged spy "over past years", AFP reported.

Furthermore, Fadlallah, who heads the Lebanese parliament's information and telecommunications committee, said the suspect had helped provide Israeli intelligence services with unrestrained access to all phone calls on the Alfa's network, the AFP report added.

The incident highlights the political sensitivity of the telecommunications sector in Lebanon, and could lead to further disruptions to the government's plans to privatise the country's two state-owned mobile operators, Alfa and MTC Touch, which are run by Orascom and Zain respectively.

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