Lebanon says Israeli 'agent' arrested over anti-Hamas attack

Beirut (AFP) –


Lebanon's army said Tuesday it has arrested a suspected agent of Israel's spy agency Mossad over a failed bid to assassinate a Hamas official in the south of the country.

In January 2018, Mohammed Hamdan, a security official with the Lebanese branch of the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas, was wounded in the leg in a car bomb blast in the southern Lebanese port city of Sidon.

Lebanon and Hamas blamed Israel for the attack, and days after the January 14 blast Beirut authorities said they had arrested a man suspected of involvement in the car bombing.

A statement at the time said he was "one of the main perpetrators of the crime, who confessed to being tasked by Israeli intelligence".

On Tuesday the Lebanese army said in a statement a second male suspect "who carried out surveillance" before last year's bombing had also been arrested.

The second suspect "has admitted to being a Mossad agent since 2014", it said, without specifying his nationality.

Hamas has fought three wars with Israel in the past decade and is based in Gaza, but it operates a branch in Lebanon and elsewhere in the region.

Lebanon is also home to tens of thousands of Palestinian refugees, many of whom live 12 camps across the country, the largest being Ain al-Hilweh near the port city of Sidon.