Mystery spy device found in Lebanon detonates remotely, kills one

Cyprus, Israel, Syria, LebanonBy JOSEPH FITSANAKIS |
A mysterious spy device found in Lebanon was detonated remotely by what some say was an Israeli drone, killing one man and injuring several others. According to Lebanon’s Al-Manar TV, the alleged spy device was uncovered last week by a Lebanese military patrol near the village of Adloun in southern Lebanon. Most of the region is firmly controlled by Hezbollah, the Shiite militant group that governs large swathes of the Lebanese territory. The report was later confirmed by the Lebanese Army, which said that the device had been attached, probably by Israel, to the telecommunications network belonging to Hezbollah. The militant group operates its own telecommunications network and its own news media, including Al-Manar, the television station that broke the news of the discovery of the spy device. However, as soon as Hezbollah forces gathered around the “strange device”, an aircraft appeared overhead and remotely detonated the device “from a distance”. The TV station said Hezbollah member Hassan Ali Haidar was killed in the explosion. Last week’s incident was not the first report of an exploding spy device found attached to Lebanese telecommunications networks. In October of 2009, Lebanese authorities discovered three communications interception devices near Lebanon’s border with Israel. Two of the devices self-destructed by exploding as Lebanese security personnel were approaching. Members of the Lebanese Armed Forces decided to detonate a third device, fearing that it too might explode. A year later, at least two mysterious spy devices were discovered in mountain ranges around the Lebanese capital Beirut. The devices were found carefully concealed inside fake boulders in the mountain of Sannine, directly north of Beirut and in Barouk, which is adjacent to the city’s southern suburbs. The devices consisted of surveillance cameras, electronic transmitters, as well as satellite signal reception systems. One of the devices was connected to a third fake boulder, containing long-lasting batteries, which powered the device. Most Lebanese observers believe the devices were planted during the 2006 Lebanon War; but Hezbollah is considering the possibility that they were deployed later on, possibly as recently as 2008, or even later. The Israeli military declined to comment on the discovery of the spy device last week.

4 Responses to Mystery spy device found in Lebanon detonates remotely, kills one

  1. You made a common typing mistake in this sentence; in doesn’t bother me.
    “The TV station said Hezbollah member Hassan Ali Haidar was killed it the explosion.”

  2. intelNews says:

    @Chris: Corrected. Thanks for catching it. [JF]

  3. Rusty Fastcar says:

    If legitimate, this is a ruthless, but absolutely ingenious marriage of operational security, signals intelligence, and drone capability. With adequate drone coverage, you could plant taps more aggressively without worrying so much about the technology being captured and the enemy making systematic changes to their communications to counter future attempts. You force the enemy to think twice about snatching the next tap they find, buying you time to detect and confirm that the compromise has occurred. You can circle the target and wait for the opportune moment to detonate, whether it be when potential civilian casualties are minimized or enemy operatives are gathered in the kill zone. So long as the detonator has an integral or battery power source, you essentially have near-total control over how the scenario plays out. Brilliant.

  4. RangerJim says:

    Another possibility is that these devices had anti-disturbance triggers (including magnetic fuzing) which would detonate if anyone attempted to examine them or if magnetic, even approached with a certain amount of metal on them. We emplaced this sort of sensor along the Ho Chi Minh trail during the Vietnam war, disguised as bushes, large rocks, human or animal droppings and so on. No need for a drone operator to detonate them remotely.

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