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Lebanon arrests two more in Israeli spy inquiry

BEIRUT, May 31 (Reuters) - A Lebanese army colonel and a senior retired customs officer have been detained on suspicion of spying for Israel, security sources said on Sunday.

The army officer was the second colonel arrested in less than a week in an espionage investigation that has produced charges against at least 21 suspects and several confessions, the authorities say. Israel has not commented on the arrests.

Hezbollah, the Iranian- and Syrian-backed military and political group, has called for the death penalty for all suspects convicted of spying for Israel. Hezbollah and Israel fought a 34-day war in 2006.

Investigators have displayed what they say is spy gadgetry seized in the course of the investigation. At least two spies fled to Israel last week, Lebanese authorities have said, demanding their repatriation.

Senior Lebanese security officials say the arrests have dealt a major blow to Israel's spying networks in Lebanon.

They say many of the suspects played key roles in identifying Hezbollah targets that were bombed during the 34-day war.

Other suspects have been charged with monitoring senior Hezbollah officials and at least one is alleged to have played a role in the 2004 assassination of a commander of the group. (Writing by Tom Perry; editing by Michael Roddy)

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