Leder av den spanske kontigenten i FN-styrken i Libanon, general José María Prieto Martinez, avslørte i en videokonferanse at hans styrke har hjulpet den libanesiske hæren med å identifisere israelske spioner. De arresterte risikerer hard behandling og strenge straffer.
Det spanske forsvarsdepartementet var raskt ut med å dementere opplysningen.
United Nations peacekeepers helped Lebanese security forces uncover a suspected Israeli spy ring, the head of the Spanish contingent in the force, General José María Prieto Martinez, has told Spain’s defense minister.
But Spain’s Defense Ministry has rushed to deny the officer’s report, insisting that it was due to a misunderstanding, and that Spanish troops are not authorized under the UN mandate to take part in the operations of the Lebanese army.
Lebanese authorities claim to have detained dozens of suspects in an espionage investigation, including senior military officials; Israel has not commented on the arrests.
Martinez’s comments caused a stir in Spain’s media, since he made them during a video conference with the minister, Carme Chacón, in which other Spanish military commanders also participated.
He told Chacón that his forces, part of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), had searched for Israeli spied over the past week, and that a number of arrests had been made.