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Lebanon arrested a man who has confessed to being a Mossad agent, extending a crackdown on an alleged Israeli spy ring, the head of Lebanon’s internal security forces said.

“We arrested him just over two weeks ago, and he confessed to working for the Israeli Mossad,” Major General Ashraf Reefi said in a telephone interview today.

“We were pursuing him for a few months and he had traveled abroad when we began to crack down on a cell of collaborators with Israel last year, and he then came back to the country thinking we had forgotten about him.”

The latest detention brings the number of people under investigation in the spying probe to 17, and all the others have been charged and referred to judicial authorities, Reefi said.

As many as 35 people were arrested last year for allegedly spying for Israel. One of them is believed to have been involved in the assassination of Ghaleb Awali, a senior commander of the Shiite Muslim Hezbollah’s military arm, who was killed in a car bombing in 2004, Reefi said in an interview last year. Bloomberg

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