Iranians suspected of monitoring Lebanese anti-Syrian figure
Three Iranians and a Lebanese man who reside in Beirut's southern suburbs, a hotbed of Hezbollah militant activity, were arrested last week on charges of monitoring the residence of Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea, security sources said Friday.
Geagea's home is in Meerab, northeast of Beirut, the dpa reported.
The sources said the four men were spotted in a rented car near Geagea's residence last week. Upon checking the plate number of the red-painted car it was found owned by a car rental company based in south Beirut and it had been rented to three Iranians and a Lebanese man.
Police interrogated the four who claimed to have lost their way as they were on a trip along the " Jesus Trail" and ended up in Meerab.
Jesus Christ, according to biblical history, visited south Lebanon and may have reached as far as the Sidon coastline, 45 kilometres south of Beirut. Meerab, however, is almost 80 kilometers north of Sidon.
One of the Iranian suspects said in his testimony that was visiting Lebanon because he was married to a Lebanese woman. The two others said they were students at the Beirut Arab University and the Islamic University, respectively, the security sources said.
According to sources two of the Iranians claimed they did not speak Arabic and asked for a Farsi translator during their interrogation.
The four were set free, but due to contradictions in their testimonies, a judicial source said they might be interrogated again.
The sources said the interrogators were wondering how two of the arrested claim they do not speak Arabic while they go to an Arab university, where courses are taught in Arabic.
The three suspects said they resided in an apartment owned by a Lebanese friend in south Beirut, a Hezbollah stronghold that is off limits to Lebanese police and state authority.
According to some of Geagea's lawyers who are following up the case, they will ask the authorities to further interrogate the four.
The report came hours after Progressive Socialist Party leader and anti-Syrian official, Walid Jumblat, accused Hezbollah of monitoring a Beirut airport runway used by executive jets and warned against a terrorist attack targeting an aircraft using the facility.