ISA (Israel Security Agency – Shin Bet) agents working with Israel Police have arrested 12 Israeli Arab citizens suspected to be members of a Hizbullah terror cell. The suspects in custody, residents of Nazareth and Kfar Rajar, are suspected of smuggling twenty-one 20kg (44 LBS) explosive devices into Israel. The bombs were recovered by security agents, found buried a meter underground. Intelligence community officials feel the operatives are high level and their activities are known to Hizbullah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah.
Most of the suspects are also drug dealers, which is in line with Hizbullah’s ongoing and increasing effort to peddle drugs in Israel, which for the terror organization has a double impact, the financial rewards that fund anti-Israel terrorism and turning Israelis into drug addicts.
Shin Bet officials told the media the cell was a “ticking time bomb” and it is clear they were operating as three cells under the Hizbullah command. One cell operated on Lebanese soil, the second in Nazareth and the third was responsible for moving communications and other apparatus between the cells. The 24 bombs were recovered, all of them said to be readied for detonation via a sophisticated trigger mechanism. In addition, an M-16 assault rifle stolen from an IDF lt.-colonel who lives in the center of the country was recovered.
The investigation into the terror cells began in June 2012, after a number of Lebanese drug dealers were apprehended in Israel. They were carrying four large bags with military grade explosive blocks, each weighing 20kg. A 16-year-old resident of Rajar, a border village which is under dual control, [southern portion Israeli and the northern Lebanon], came to get the explosive materials. The village is known to police as a major station for smuggling drugs into Israel.
The youth who was under surveillance delivered the bags to Shahid Ibrahim who enlisted the youth’s services to smuggle drugs for Saad Khamuz, who fled Lebanon in 2006 after he was the subject of a criminal indictment for drug dealing and working with Hizbullah. Khamuz has since been a major player with Hizbullah. This arrest opened a door that led investigators to the terror ring.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)