Hezbollah says finds three spies within group

Reuters News
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Posted: Jun 24, 2011 2:46 PM
Hezbollah says finds three spies within group

BEIRUT (Reuters) - Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said on Friday the group had captured three spies among its members, two of whom were recruited by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency.

The spies, one of whom was recruited five months ago, did not pose a serious threat to the movement or its military capabilities, he said.

"None of these three cases are within the first line of senior leadership. They were not in positions of sensitive responsibility ... it is impossible to touch the military and security infrastructure of the resistance and its ability to confront," he said in a televised speech.

"None of them have sensitive information that could harm the structure of the resistance."

Nasrallah said the CIA agents who hired the spies had diplomatic protection from the U.S. embassy in Beirut. He accused the CIA of recruiting the spies on behalf of Israel.

"The Israelis failed to penetrate the structure of Hezbollah so they have turned to the CIA for help," he said.

Hezbollah, which Washington designates as a terrorist group, fought an inconclusive 34-day war with Israel in 2006 during which it fired missiles deep into Israel. At least 1,200 Lebanese and 158 Israelis were killed during the war.

It is not unusual to discover spies in Lebanon but it was the first time the group, which takes prides in its ability to prevent infiltration, acknowledged that it had been penetrated.

(editing by Elizabeth Piper)