A report in a pro-government Turkish daily Monday claimed seven members of an Israeli spy ring were arrested by the counterintelligence branch of the country’s National Intelligence Organization, as part of a crackdown on an allegedly larger spy network.
According to the Daily Sabah, the seven were part of a 56-member team operated remotely from Tel Aviv by Israeli handlers, who communicated with the separate cells using burner phones. The report said the seven, who were not identified, confessed to working for Israeli intelligence.
It was not specified what happened to the other suspects, which were said to include an Arab Israeli, Turkish nationals and Syrians.
The operatives reportedly gathered intelligence on targets using sophisticated surveillance techniques, including by sending links with viruses that infect phones when clicked. The report said some of the links were to stories on fake news websites set up by the network, most of which were in Arabic.
The Turkish daily said the network’s Arabic-speaking members were dispatched to Lebanon and Syria to gather intelligence and pick out targets to be later struck by Israel, among them a building in Beirut where senior figures from the Hezbollah terror group reside.