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Turkey says it busted Israeli Mossad spy ring targeting Hezbollah, others

Turkey has detained seven people for spying on behalf of Israel on a major multinational espionage operation.
Men chat as they sit on a bench in front of the New Mosque, bearing Turkish flags, in the Eminonu district in Istanbul, on January 10, 2023. (Photo by OZAN KOSE / AFP) (Photo by OZAN KOSE/AFP via Getty Images)

Turkey’s counter-intelligence services detained seven people who allegedly confessed to spying on behalf of Israel, part of a massive espionage ring targeting the likes of Lebanon's Hezbollah militant group, whose tentacles extended beyond Turkey to Sweden, Jordan, Thailand and Syria, Turkish media reported Monday.

The pro-government Daily Sabah said Turkey’s national spy agency, MIT, had uncovered 56 operatives linked to nine separate networks who gathered “biographical intelligence” on foreign nationals, hacked into their communication devices and tracked their vehicles. Daily Sabah named one Israeli of Arab origin called Soliman Agbaria as one of the ringleaders.

Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency allegedly sent ethnic Arab assets in Istanbul to Lebanon and Syria to establish the locations of Lebanese Hezbollah, notably in Beirut’s Hrair Hreik municipality, with the aim of striking them with drones. All of their activities were orchestrated from Tel Aviv, Daily Sabah claimed.

The bust is the first high-profile operation to be announced since Ibrahim Kalin, former foreign policy adviser to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, took over MIT from its legendary boss, Hakan Fidan. The latter became foreign minister in the wake of presidential and parliamentary polls in May and was accused of leaking information about Israeli spies to Iran.

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