Hezbollah operatives obtained Western passports and used them to travel to various locations to attack Israeli civilians and Jewish population centers, according to a senior Western intelligence official quoted by a Kuwaiti newspaper Thursday
In an interview with Al-Rai, the unnamed official stated that Hezbollah members had acquired several European, Australian and Canadian passports.
In most cases, the passports had belonged to Lebanese dual citizens residing in Europe, the official said.
“The organization is without doubt considered by everyone as a first-order terrorist organization,” he was quoted as saying. “They recruited Lebanese Europeans in order to allow simple and free international movement.”
The official, who spoke under condition of anonymity, further said that the passports had already been used by the Lebanese terror organization in locations such as Turkey, Jordan, Egypt, Cyprus, Greece and Azerbaijan.
The attacks, the official continued, sought to avenge the assassination of Hezbollah military wing chief Imad Mughniyeh in 2008, an operation which was widely believed to have been carried out by Israeli agents.
The official added that attacks had been planned by the Shiite group in a number of major European cities as well, including Paris and Amsterdam.
According to the official, the Hezbollah operatives were trained in a secret military facility in Cyprus. After completing their training, they were sent back to their homes to await further orders, which sometimes came only years later.
Since Mughniyeh’s death, a number of terror attacks on Israelis abroad have been linked to Hezbollah, and in some cases, were carried out by Lebanese dual citizens.
In September, Bulgaria named 32-year-old Meliad Farah, also known as Hussein Hussein, an Australian citizen, and 25-year-old Hassan El Hajj Hassan, a Canadian citizen, both of Lebanese origin, as the main suspects in a July 2012 bombing in the Bulgarian resort city of Burgas that killed five Israeli tourists and a local bus driver.
That bombing prompted the European Union in late July to officially label Hezbollah’s military wing a terrorist organization. The decision to blacklist the organization was decided by a unanimous vote among the EU’s 28 foreign ministers.
Gavriel Fiske contributed to this report.