A series of Hezbollah terrorist attacks inside Israel were foiled recently by the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) after a group of Israeli-Arabs helped smuggle 20 kilograms of high-grade explosives into Israel.
On Wednesday, eight residents of Nazareth and the town of Ghajar – half of which is in Israel and the other half in Lebanon – were charged in the Nazareth District Court with assisting in the smuggling of the explosives.
The 20 kg of C-4 explosives – each kilogram was wrapped separately and could have been used to assemble a separate bomb – were smuggled into Israel in a single bag by a number of residents of Ghajar on 5 June. The bag was transferred a few days later to a resident of Nazareth, Abed Zoabi – a known drug dealer – who hid the bag in his backyard where the Israel Police captured it in mid July.
“The explosives could have been used against any type of target inside Israel,” a senior Shin Bet official said on Wednesday. “This is just the tip of the iceberg of Hezbollah’s efforts against Israel…the attempted attack here and the recent attack in Bulgaria are all carried out by the same organisation.”
The Shin Bet official added that such an operation – to smuggle explosives into Israel from Lebanon – would have needed approval from the top echelons of Hezbollah.
The discovery of the cell does not however reflect on the role and attitudes of Israeli Arabs towards terrorism. On the contrary, in recent years there has been a sharp drop in Israeli-Arab involvement in attempts at terrorist attacks inside Israel.
In related news, an Israeli official, quoted in the New York Times, noted that their was an increase in the volume of phone calls between Lebanon and Bulgaria three days prior to the airport bombing in Burgas that killed five Israelis.
Jerusalem has so far avoided releasing information on counterintelligence work tying Iran and Hezbollah to the suicide attack at the resort city. “We know the sources in Lebanon,” the official told the paper, adding that they did not have information on the identity of those acting in Bulgaria. “They shouldn’t know that we know the numbers in Lebanon,” he added.