Lebanon's Shiite Islamist political party, Hezbollah, has detained a senior official for spying for the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad, Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported Thursday, citing a source close to the party. The report comes even as there has been a significant escalation in tensions along Lebanon’s disputed border with Israel.
“Three months ago, Hezbollah's security apparatus detained a man named Mohammad Shawraba, who is a collaborator in its ranks,” the unnamed source told AFP, adding that the man had also been accused of sabotaging Hezbollah’s “security operations” abroad.
“This member sabotaged some five security operations that Hezbollah had been planning abroad against Israeli-linked interests,” the source said.
Shawraba, a resident of a southern Lebanese town of Mahruna, has reportedly confessed to spying for Israel since 2007, when he was recruited by Mossad during an overseas trip.
Iran-backed Hezbollah, which wields a significant clout in Lebanese politics, has been Israel’s longtime foe and has frequently denounced the latter’s actions in Gaza and the West Bank region. Israel has also often accused the Islamist group of aiding and abetting militant groups in the northern Golan Heights. Hezbollah’s military wing had earlier clashed with the Israeli army in 2006 during the monthlong Second Lebanon War that reportedly claimed over 1,500 lives.
The report of the detention of an Israeli spy within Hezbollah’s ranks comes even as the group faces stiff opposition in Lebanon, which has almost an equal number of Shiites and Sunnis, for its decision to send troops to aid Syrian President Bashar Assad.
Earlier this month, Israel had also carried out airstrikes in the Syrian capital of Damascus, allegedly to prevent Hezbollah from laying its hands on shipments of advanced weaponry from Iran.