5 men planning to pass fake dollars to tourists arrested in Syria

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A Syrian security official says five men have been arrested for forging $6 million and planning to pass the fake money to tourists visiting the country.

The official says the men were detained in a raid on a rented apartment in the northern city of Idlib where they kept the machines for making counterfeit $100 bills.

The official said on Tuesday the counterfeit money was to go through a Lebanese middle man who would sell it for $510,000. The official spoke on condition of anonymity, in line with regulations.

He said the raid took place on Saturday and that the investigation is continuing.

Tourism Ministry official Qassem Darwish said about 4 million tourists visited Syria in the first half of 2010 — a 63 percent increase from the same period last year.