March 7, 2013 / 11:01 AM / 5 years ago

Syria says uncovers Israeli spy equipment near coast

BEIRUT (Reuters) - Syria said on Thursday it had uncovered an Israeli spy camera monitoring a “sensitive site” on its Mediterranean coast.

Israelis use binoculars to see the fighting in the Syrian village of al-Jamlah, from the Israeli occupied Golan Heights, close to the ceasefire line between Israel and Syria March 7, 2013. REUTERS/Baz Ratner

State television showed pictures of what it said was a camera, six large batteries and transmission gear along with fake rocks used to camouflage the equipment.

It quoted an official source as saying the equipment was found in the last few days at a coastal location not specified, and that the discovery highlighted the role Israel had played in the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad.

It said the camera had relayed pictures in real time and had been used in the service of both Israel and “armed terrorist groups” - the label Syrian officials give to insurgents fighting to topple Assad.

An Israeli military spokeswoman said she was checking the report and made no further comment.

Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor would not comment on the report of the spy equipment, saying: “We will not be dragged into the Syrian civil war. Not on the verbal or propaganda battlefield, nor on the real one.”

The equipment shown on Syrian television - and the artificial rocks used to disguise it - closely resembled items seized in Lebanon in recent years that Lebanese authorities said were also used by Israel to monitor movements inside Lebanon.

Syria is engulfed in a civil war which the United Nations says has killed 70,000 people and erupted nearly two years ago with initially peaceful protests against Assad.

Reporting by Dominic Evans in Beirut, Maayan Lubell and Ari Rabinovitch in Jerusalem; Editing by Mark Heinrich

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