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Hezbollah denies link to alleged spy

BEIRUT, Lebanon, June 28 (UPI) -- The Lebanese militant group Hezbollah denied Friday any link with a man Israel said it has arrested on charges of spying for the group.

Hezbollah spokesman Hassan Izeddine told As Safir newspaper the group had no link to the alleged spy, who was only identified by his first name, Nissim.

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On Thursday, Israel said criminal charges were filed against Nissim for gathering intelligence on electricity and gas installations in Tel Aviv, befriending a senior army officer and then supplying information on Israeli plans to kill "senior elements" in Lebanon and the Palestinian territories.

Nissim, a Jew who migrated from Lebanon to Israel, reportedly passed on warnings of planned targeted killings several days before last month's assassination in Beirut of the son of Ahmed Jibril, leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command.

The Israelis arrested Nissim June 3.

His family in Lebanon only learned of his arrest from the Israeli media Thursday.

According to An Nahar newspaper, Nissim is from al-Bazourieyh village in the region of Tyre in south Lebanon. He was born to a Lebanese Muslim father and a Jewish mother who used to live in the Jewish neighborhood of Wadi Abu Jmeil in Beirut in the 1960s.

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Nissim left his village 10 years ago and crossed into the then-Israeli-occupied security zone of south Lebanon. He reportedly traveled to Egypt and then crossed into Israel to join his Jewish uncles, some of whom were in high-ranking positions with the Israeli army.

According to An Nahar, Nissim obtained Israeli nationality. Nissim's mother learned of his arrest while receiving condolences at her house in al-Bazouriyeh for her husband's death.

Nissim's family refused to supply the newspaper with his photo but said he called them when he learned of his father's death.

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