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Israeli spy network referred to judiciary

BEIRUT, Lebanon, June 15 (UPI) -- Lebanon achieved a major breakthrough in curbing Israeli intelligence activity by arresting a key network responsible for bombings and assassinations.

A military investigative judge Thursday issued arrest warrants against four suspects on charges of involvement in bombings and assassinations that targeted Lebanese and Palestinian militants and for working for Israeli intelligence, the Mossad.

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Three of the arrest warrants were issued in absentia, including one against a Palestinian identified as Hussein Khattab.

One of the suspects, a Lebanese man identified as Mahmoud Rafeh, is held in custody. If convicted of the charges, the suspects could face a life sentence or death.

The suspects are accused of involvement in the killing of an Islamic Jihad official, Mahmoud Majzoub, a Lebanese man, and his brother in a car bomb in the southern city of Sidon last May 26, in addition to the assassinations of two Hezbollah officials, one in the south of Lebanon and others in a southern suburb of Beirut in August 1999 and August 2003.

The network also was accused of killing Jihad Jibril, the son of Ahmed Jibril, head of the Damascus-based Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine -- General Command, with an explosive charge in Beirut in May 2002. Other charges include planting and detonating bombs in southern Lebanon.

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Defense Minister Elias Murr said at a press conference that the car bomb that killed the Majzoub brothers might have been detonated by remote control from an Israeli plane which flew over Sidon at the time of the explosion.

Murr said the network is the most sophisticated spy group uncovered in Lebanon in terms of equipment and training, but noted there was no evidence of any link between the network and bombings that rocked Christian areas last spring.

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