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Mossad interrogated us, Hezbollah suspects tell Nigerian court

The two men, accused of planning attacks against Israeli and Western targets, claim Israeli agents questioned them while in custody

Mitch Ginsburg is the former Times of Israel military correspondent.

Suspected Hezbollah weapons cache uncovered in May 2013 in Kano, Nigeria. (screen capture: Youtube/Euronews)
Suspected Hezbollah weapons cache uncovered in May 2013 in Kano, Nigeria. (screen capture: Youtube/Euronews)

Two Lebanese nationals accused of planning an attack in Nigeria told a court in that country that Mossad agents had interrogated them for 14 days, depriving them of sleep and peppering them with questions about the identities of Hezbollah agents and the locations of rockets in south Lebanon, the AFP news agency reported.

“I was taken to an interrogation room where I met three Israeli Mossad agents,” Mustapha Fawaz told the court Monday. “They handcuffed my hands behind my back for days. I lost count because they did not allow me to sleep for several days.”

Fawaz was arrested along with Abdullah Thahini and Talal Ahmad Roda in May in the northern Nigerian city of Kano after the Nigeria State Security Service uncovered an arms cache containing rifles, mines, grenades and anti-tank weapons.

“What has just been discovered is a cell of Hezbollah and what you have seen here is a Hezbollah armory,” Bassey Ettang, director of the State Security Service in Kano, told journalists at the time.

Nigeria is home to some 60 million Sunni Muslims but has a minority of five million Shiites, some of whom support Hezbollah, in the northeastern region in and around the commercial hub of Kano.

Fawaz told Justice Adeniyi Adetokunbo Ademola on Monday that after his arrest a local security official approached him and said that “some European friends” wanted to ask him some questions, AFP reported.

“I was taken to an interrogation room where I met three Israeli Mossad agents,” said Fawaz, who denied membership in Hezbollah.

“During the 14 days of interrogation, I was interrogated by six Israeli Mossad agents and one masked white man,” he continued. “I was interrogated in Arabic. I asked to be interrogated in English but they refused. Most of them are weak in English. They are not Europeans but Israelis.”

Fawaz said no Nigerian officials were present during the interrogation sessions and claimed that one of the men identified himself as a Mossad agent.

“They asked me about my link with Hezbollah, but they concentrated more on Lebanon — whether I knew if there are weapons stored in the south of Lebanon or the identities of people who have been trained by Hezbollah,” said Fawaz.

Thahini, who claimed to have collapsed after five days of sleep deprivation, said he was able to identify his interrogators “because we are neighbors.”

Both the prosecution and the defense have rested their cases and Ademola has adjourned the case until September 30.

The three suspects are believed to own a supermarket and an amusement park in the capital city of Abuja in central Nigeria.

The National Security Council’s Counter-Terror Bureau has long recommended that Israeli civilians refrain from visiting northern Nigeria, labeling the threat “concrete and very high.”

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