Israel: Hezbollah behind explosives found near Lebanon border
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Israel: Hezbollah behind explosives found near Lebanon border

Defense official says 3 charges discovered by farmer in Metulla last month were to be used in attacks against IDF, civilians

Tamar Pileggi is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Israeli army jeeps patrol along the Northern Israeli border with Lebanon on July 14, 2014. (Ayal Margolin/Flash90)
Israeli army jeeps patrol along the Northern Israeli border with Lebanon on July 14, 2014. (Ayal Margolin/Flash90)

Explosive devices discovered in a field by a farmer near the northern town of Metulla last month were smuggled into Israel from Lebanon by Hezbollah, Israel Radio reported Sunday.

An unnamed defense official told the radio station that the three makeshift charges uncovered in a field were likely meant to be used in attacks against Israelis.

It wasn’t clear who was meant to collect the devices, though the Lebanon-based terror group has recently ramped up efforts to recruit Palestinian operatives from the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and within Israel using social media.

Last week, Israel’s Shin Bet security service revealed that in recent months it had broken up two Hezbollah terror cells and arrested nine local members of the organization.

Hezbollah operatives from the group’s Unit 133 — its foreign operations unit — working out of Lebanon and Gaza were recruiting operatives through Facebook to carry out suicide bombings and ambush Israel Defense Forces patrols in the West Bank. They received funding from Hezbollah, and some members had begun preparing explosive devices for use in attacks, the Shin Bet said in an August 16 statement.

A Facebook profile used by Hezbollah to recruit new members from the West Bank and Israel, distributed on August 16, 2016. (Shin Bet)
A Facebook profile used by Hezbollah to recruit new members from the West Bank and Israel, distributed on August 16, 2016. (Shin Bet)

The terror operatives were arrested earlier this summer, but information about the case was kept under a court-issued gag order. The Shin Bet has credited the operation with thwarting a number of terror attacks against Israeli targets in the West Bank and Israel.

In response to Hezbollah’s recruitment efforts, Israel’s ambassador to the UN Danny Danon called on the international organization to formally recognize Hezbollah as a terror group.

“The international community must condemn Hezbollah’s attempts to harm innocent Israeli civilians, and the Security Council must finally designate Hezbollah a terrorist organization,” Danon said last week in a statement.

Judah Ari Gross contributed to this report.

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