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Thursday, 27 June, 2002, 19:15 GMT 20:15 UK
Israeli citizen 'spied for Hezbollah'
Hezbollah guerrillas
Israel fears Hezbollah is planning to expand its campaign
Prosecutors in Israel have charged an Israeli citizen with spying for Lebanese Islamic militants.

A statement from the prime minister's office said the man was planning to inform Hezbollah of potential targets in Israel.

Israeli media said the man, identified only as Nissim, is the son of a Jewish mother and Shia Muslim father, who immigrated from Lebanon to Israel 10 years ago.

His arrest has raised fears in Israel that Hezbollah, which fought Israel in Lebanon, is planning to expand its campaign across the border.

Map found

The 35-year-old suspected spy was arrested on 3 June as he prepared to travel to meet Hezbollah leaders overseas, the statement said.

Hezbollah guerrillas fire Katyusha rockets from southern Lebanon
Hezbollah has fired rockets into northern Israel

Israel says the man was planning to supply the guerrillas with maps of Tel Aviv and Haifa, marked with fuel and electricity stations to attack.

He is also charged with informing Hezbollah of purported Israeli targets for assassinations in Lebanon and the Palestinian territories.

The man is further suspected of having developed a rapport with a senior Israeli army officer in order to extract information.

Shift in tactics

Until now, Hezbollah has only sporadically attacked Israeli territory in the far north of the country by firing rockets over the border.

Israel has responded by launching air raids against Hezbollah positions in southern Lebanon.

Israeli helicopter over southern Lebanon
Israel has hit back hard against Hezbollah attacks

The government statement said the man's arrest indicated that the Iranian-backed fundamentalists are planning to dramatically widen the field of conflict.

On Thursday, Israel radio also reported that a Lebanese member of Hezbollah was among a group of Palestinian militants arrested by Israeli forces in Hebron.

Israel fought the Hezbollah for years following Israel's invasion of southern Lebanon in 1982.

The two sides have continued to clash since Israel withdrew its forces in May, 2000.

Hezbollah has fired on Israeli positions in a disputed patch of territory on the Israeli-Lebanese border and kidnapped several Israel soldiers patrolling the area.


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