The Shin Bet security agency in July, working in concert with police, detained a cell of Israeli-Arab citizens operating in the north who are believed to be drug smugglers working in league with Hezbollah in Lebanon to bring illegal narcotics and weapons into Israel, security officials said Thursday.
Israeli police and the Shin Bet said that the Israeli network was in cahoots with a group of Hezbollah-linked Lebanese drug dealers, who planned to use the connection to smuggle weapons into Israel and possibly to carry out a terror attack inside the country.
Four men were arrested in Israel who had direct contact with Hezbollah, the Shin Bet said in a press release: Helim Afif Abad el-Karim Abbas and Izeldin Afif Abad el-Karim Abbas, both of Nahf, an Israeli-Arab town in the Galilee, and Ahmad Muhammad Abdallah Mizariv and Riad Mustafa Abdallah Mizariv, of Beit Zarzir near Nazareth.
During the course of interrogating the four men, the Shin Bet said, it discovered their connection to George Nimar, a known Hezbollah operative from the southern Lebanese town of Marjayoun, who deals with communications and weapons transport for the organization. Nimar apparently planned to start smuggling weapons, in addition to the drugs, into Israel.
Nimar “clearly intended to transfer weapons into Israel,” the Shin Bet said, and added that the four drug dealers “were to be used by Hezbollah to promote terror activities in Israel.” In addition to Nimar, the names of four other Lebanese citizens involved in the plot were revealed, the agency said.
At least one of the detainees was arrested while in possession of illegal weapons, and, according to the agency, the group had already made scouting missions along the Israel-Lebanese border in order to find a suitable location for their smuggling activities.
In the course of the investigation, 12 other Israelis, who are not believed to be directly involved with Hezbollah, were arrested on drug trafficking charges.
In August 2012, Israel arrested 14 Arab residents of Ghajar and Nazareth for smuggling 21 kilograms of explosives and planning to carry out terror attacks for Hezbollah.