BEIRUT, Lebanon, May 11 (UPI) -- Lebanese security officials said the arrest of spies working for the Israeli intelligence agency was a major victory as claims of Hezbollah involvement surface.
Authorities in Lebanon have arrested several officials and civilians believed to be linked to the Israeli intelligence agency, Mossad, in what is described as a blow to Israel.
Lebanese Internal Security Forces chief Ashraf Rifi said the series of arrests were "the strongest strike against the Israeli Mossad," Hezbollah's al-Manar news agency reports.
Officials in Lebanon noted Hezbollah cooperation on intelligence matters is strong, but Rifi said the matter is separate from Hezbollah's political ambitions.
Lebanon holds parliamentary elections in June with the March 8 coalition, which includes Hezbollah, expecting major gains.
Accounts of the spy arrests outlined in London's pan-Arab daily, Asharq al-Awsat, describe a complex security arrangement between Hezbollah and Lebanese security officials.
The country's security officials said Hezbollah had cooperated with the Internal Security Forces to provide information on the spy ring in the south of the country, though the group agreed to do so only in exchange for de facto autonomy in the south. The movement was apparently in disarray as fears of Israeli infiltration mount.
Sources speaking to Asharq al-Awsat said members of the Amal resistance movement and two brothers living in southern Lebanon had joined the ranks of Hezbollah and provided Israeli intelligence officials with activity on the group used for coordinated airstrikes.