Terror ring busted after smuggling 21 kg of explosives into Israel for Hezbollah

Ten Israeli Arabs indicted; some may have thought they were involved in drug trade

Arms seized from a Hezbollah military vessel in 2009 (photo credit: IDF/Flash90)
Arms seized from a Hezbollah military vessel in 2009 (photo credit: IDF/Flash90)

Israel has arrested 14 Arab residents of Ghajar and Nazareth for smuggling explosives and planning to carry out terror attacks for Hezbollah.

Ten of them were indicted. The gag order on the case was lifted on Wednesday.

The individuals were believed to have been waiting for an order to strike from Hezbollah.

The 10 are believed to have smuggled 21 kilograms of explosives, as well as explosive detonators and other weapons from Lebanon into Israel. They were discovered during an intensive two-month investigation by the police and the Shin Bet security service. Many of the weapons were M-16 rifles.

The individuals are believed to have operated with a Lebanese notorious drug trader who has ties to terror groups, George Nemer, known as Abu Ali, and Said Kamoz, a former Israeli who fled to Lebanon in 2006 when Israel began legal proceedings against him.

The investigation began when a smaller amount of explosive material was found in Ghajar, and was believed to have been transferred to Kamoz’s brother there, said Menashe Michael Shafshak, head of the police investigative unit in the country’s north.

Northern District Police Commander Roni Atiya told Army Radio that there were a total of 14 individuals involved in the ring, 10 of whom were indicted. The official said the men hid the explosives in their backyards, and that they were then transferred from Ghajar, which straddles the Israeli-Lebanese border, and then onto Nazareth and also Kafr Kanna.

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As the details of the case continued to emerge Wednesday, some elements of the operation were still unclear, such as whether some of the men thought they were handling drugs and not explosives. Officials also noted that the men were not necessarily operating due to their ideological beliefs, but rather, for money.

The explosives they possessed were “very high in quality,” added Shafsak, “and had the potential to injure many people.” He said that Israel’s access to good intelligence, its early arrests, and the intense nature of the investigation made the prevention of an attack possible.

A senior Shin Bet official also noted that Hezbollah has systematically tried to recruit students, or people unaffiliated with terror, living in the West Bank or men from Gaza or Sinai to carry out such attacks.

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