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West Bank terror cell uncovered, directed by Hezbollah chief’s son

Israel’s Shin Bet security service yesterday announced that it arrested a five-person terror cell in the West Bank, which was receiving orders from the son of Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah.

Five Palestinian men from Tulkarm were arrested in a joint operation with the IDF and Israel’s Police. The cell’s head, Mahmoud Jalloul spent time in Israeli prisons for security offences between 2001 and 2005. He had been recruited online over social media networks by Jawad Nasrallah, the son of the Hezbollah leader. The Shin Bet said that Jalloul was instructed “to start an e-mail account, through which he received orders to recruit more members and collect advance information with the goal of committing terror attack.”

The Shin Bet said that through this system, the cell was given “instructions to carry out surveillance and collect information about security forces active in the area” and “to receive instructions to commit attacks using explosive belts, to train suicide bombers, to collect information on training camps.”

The cell also received around £3,500 via money transfers from abroad and two cell members, Muhammad Masarwa and Ahmed Abu El-Az had purchased a weapon, which was seized during the investigation. The five suspects have been charged with membership in an illegal organisation, contact with the enemy, bringing enemy funds into the area, conspiracy to cause deliberate death, trafficking in combat equipment, conspiring to shoot at people, and disrupting the course of legal proceedings.

The Shin Bet described the case as “a highly unusual incident in which a terror cell … grew under the direction of Hezbollah.” The statement accused Hezbollah of “trying to ride the current wave of terror in Israel and is working diligently to fan the flames.” Hezbollah has been responsible for attacking Israeli targets abroad, most notably a bus bombing which killed Israeli tourists in Bulgaria in 2012. However, the terror group, which is also active on the Israel-Syria border, has not previously been noted for planning attacks in the West Bank.