German questioned in Lebanon spy probe: officials

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A German engineer working for a dairy company in Lebanon has been interrogated in connection with a probe into Israeli spy networks in the country, Lebanese and German officials said on Tuesday.

Lebanese officials said the man had been living in Lebanon for some 12 years and had been working at Liban Lait, a dairy factory in the eastern Bekaa Valley, since August 2009.

Executives at Liban Lait confirmed that the man had been interrogated on the premises and that Internet connection had been cut off from his work station.

One official said investigators were going through his communication data.

Meanwhile, a spokesman at the German foreign ministry told AFP by telephone that "we spoke to the concerned German national today and we are in contact with him in case he needs assistance."

Both Lebanese and German officials said the man had not been arrested or charged with any crime.

Since April 2009, when the government launched a nationwide crackdown on alleged rings working for the Mossad, close to 100 people, including members of the security forces and telecom employees, have been arrested on suspicion of spying.

Three men have been sentenced to death, including one found guilty of aiding Israel during its devastating 2006 war with Lebanese militant party Hezbollah.

Israel forces bombed Liban Lait during the month-long war that destroyed much of Lebanon's major infrastructure and killed some 1,200 Lebanese, mainly civilians, and 160 Israelis, mainly troops.

Lebanon remains technically at a state of war with the Jewish state and convicted spies face capital punishment if found guilty of contributing to the death of Lebanese citizens.


© 2010 AFP

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