Police seize 100 grenades smuggled from Lebanon, in suspected terror plot

No arrests made after suspects leave bag with ‘unusual’ weapons on northern border; security forces probing Hezbollah involvement

Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.

Weapons seized by Israeli security forces after an alleged smuggling from Lebanon, on April 26, 2022. (Israel Police)
Weapons seized by Israeli security forces after an alleged smuggling from Lebanon, on April 26, 2022. (Israel Police)

Israeli security forces foiled an attempt to smuggle dozens of grenades and two firearms into Israel from Lebanon on Monday night, in what police suspect was part of a terror plot.

According to the Israel Police, some 100 fragmentation grenades and two rifles were found in a bag left on the border by two suspects. “The suspicion is that they were intended to be used to carry out terrorist attacks,” police said.

Security officials said they were investigating whether the smuggling was conducted on behalf of the Lebanese terror group Hezbollah. Officials have warned that Hezbollah is attempting to arm Arab Israelis in order for them to commit terror attacks in the event of another surge in violence between Jews and Arabs.

“The fact that fragmentation grenades have been seized, an unusual weapon that has not yet been seized, raises the suspicion that they were intended to carry out attacks against crowded civilian places,” police said.

The military published a video showing two suspects approaching the border. Hezbollah’s al-Manar network reported that the Israel Defense Forces launched flares over the Wazzani river area, close to the town of Ghajar, during the smuggling attempt.

No arrests were made.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett hailed the operation, repeating the suspicion that the weapons were intended to be used in terror attacks, while asserting that authorities will “continue until we suppress crime in the Arab community.”

Last month, police said officers seized dozens of firearms from Arab Israeli gun smugglers, in what was the largest-ever bust of weapons smuggled in from Lebanon.

That attempted smuggling came days after the Shin Bet security agency announced that two Arab Israelis were arrested for operating on behalf of Hezbollah, or under orders from Iran, to smuggle guns into Israel.

Weapons seized by Israeli security forces after alleged smuggling from Lebanon, on April 26, 2022. (Israel Police)

A security official warned last month that Iran is seeking revenge against Israel for various actions against it, by transferring weapons to Hezbollah “sleeper cells” that would attack senior Israeli officials, military officers, and politicians.

On Monday, the IDF’s Arabic-language spokesman Avichay Adraee said the military had exposed Hezbollah’s methods of weapon and drug-running operations on the northern border.

In a series of tweets, Adraee said that Hatem Sheet, a resident of Kafr Kila in southern Lebanon, has used his home near the border to throw packages from his balcony over the fence, to be picked up on the Israeli side.

He said Sheet has also been conducting reconnaissance work for the Lebanese terror group on the military’s activities along the northern border.

Adraee separately named a Hezbollah man he said was responsible for coordinating the smugglings on the border with Sheet — Hasan Sara’eni.

He said Sara’eni is an assistant to senior Hezbollah commander Khalil Harb, long accused by the Israel Defense Forces of managing the terror groups’ smuggling operations.

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