Beirut- The Lebanese army has said it had captured members of a terrorist network allegedly working for the Israeli Mossad and that a suspect confessed to his role in assassinating Hezbollah and Palestinian
Last Saturday, the army said it had arrested Mahmoud Rafeh, a 59-year-old Lebanese citizen and retired police officer, for a May 26 car bombing that killed Mahmoud Majzoub, a senior Islamic Jihad official, and his brother in front of their home in the southern city of Sidon. Rafeh "had links to Israeli intelligence," a statement said.
On Tuesday, the army said that Rafeh ( L) had confessed to his role in killing the Majzoub brothers, and to other operations ... including bombings that killed two Hezbollah officials; Ali Hassan Dib in 1999 and Ali Saleh in 2003 and the 2002 killing of Jihad Jibril, the son of Ahmed Jibril, leader of the radical Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC), which based in Syria with bases in Lebanon.
Rafeh was part of a "terror network working for the Israeli Mossad," and its members took "training courses in and outside Israel," the statement said.
Investigators found Israeli computers, cameras, ammunition, military uniforms and forged identity cards in ring members' hideouts ( shown below), it added.
The ring smuggled the booby-trapped door of the Mercedes car that killed the Majzoub brothers from Israel, the army said.
An investigation was underway to arrest remaining collaborators, it concluded.
As Safir newspaper said a manhunt is currently underway to catch another suspect whom it identified as Hussein Khattab, a Palestinian official in the PFLP-GC. Lebanese police and the security apparatus of the PFLP-GC had believed he was involved in Jibril's murder but he was later cleared of the crime, the paper said.
An Nahar newspaper reported that Rafeh had been working for the Mossad since 1994. It said the army found in his house forged Lebanese papers that female Mossad agents used to enter the country as the alleged wives of the ring members.
Israeli intelligence agents stayed at the flat Rafeh had rented in Sidon near the residence of the Majzoub brothers to monitor their movements, the paper said.
Six ring members have already been arrested and another two are believed to have fled to Israel, An Nahar added.
President Emile Lahoud praised Lebanese forces for breaking up the terrorist network, saying "solidarity is the real power that can stand in the face of Israel and prevent sectarian conflicts," according to a statement released by his office.
Hezbollah's deputy leader, Sheikh Naim Qassem, called the arrest and confession "a message" to all Lebanese that their country was not immune from "direct Israeli influence" -- despite Israel's withdrawal from southern Lebanon in 2000.
"Israel still sees Lebanon as a field to achieve political and future gains," Kassem told Hezbollah's Al Manar television late Tuesday.
Many people have previously been arrested in Lebanon on suspicion of spying for Israel. In 2004, a Tunisian woman of Palestinian origin and four accomplices were indicted on charges of plotting with Israel to assassinate Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah.
Lebanese Army praised
Ahmad Yasseen a local political observer told Ya Libnan, "the fact that the Lebanese army captured the Mossad terrorist ring is a prove that it should be the only authority that should be responsible for Lebanon's security "
Yasseen added: "It is time all Lebanese and Palestinian armed militia put their faith in the Lebanese army, instead of acting as ' state inside a state', which is destabilizing the country".
Commenting on the statements of Lahoud and Hezbollah Yasseen told Ya Libnan" they both should have praised the army instead of trying to justify the existence of the resistance groups".
Lebanese army shows a picture of the Mossad documents and equipment captured
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Source: Ya Libnan, Naharnet, al Safir