Report: Lebanon urging Hezbollah to prevent local Hamas cell from attacking Israel

Beirut Observer news site publishes list of operatives from Palestinian terror group who are allegedly planning to launch attack from southern Lebanon

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

Fighters with the Izz-Al Din Al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of the Hamas movement, in Nuseirat refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip, on April 18, 2021. (Mahmud Hams/AFP)
Illustrative: Fighters with the Izz-Al Din Al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of the Hamas terror group, in Nuseirat refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip, on April 18, 2021. (Mahmud Hams/AFP)

Lebanese security officials are concerned over plans by the Palestinian Hamas terror group to carry out an attack against Israel from southern Lebanon, local media reported Saturday.

The Beirut Observer news site published a list of Hamas members who were allegedly involved in planning attacks without the involvement of the Hezbollah terrorist organization, which controls much of southern Lebanon.

The Hamas operatives were named in the report as Samir Fendi, Hassan Farhat, Nadim Dawabsha and Ahmed Hamdan Abdullah.

The Beirut Observer said Lebanese security officials criticized “Hezbollah’s lack of action… because the implementation of any operation against Israel at this particular time will endanger Lebanon and add a new tragedy to its tragedies.”

In December 2021, the Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper reported that the Gaza-ruling Hamas quietly established a Lebanese branch in recent years to open up an additional front against Israel in future conflicts.

The branch is based in the port city of Tyre, but it is believed to have other outposts throughout the country. A week after the report, an alleged Hamas weapons depot hidden underneath a mosque in the Burj Shamali refugee camp, near Tyre, exploded, killing a member.

There have also been several instances of rocket fire from Lebanon into Israel in recent years, with most blamed on Palestinian factions in the country, not Hezbollah.

However, it is unlikely that terrorists in southern Lebanon would be able to fire rockets without at least the tacit approval of the Iran-backed Hezbollah, which maintains tight control over the area.

Illustrative: Hezbollah fighters attend the funeral procession on May 15, 2021, of their comrade Mohammed Tahhan who was shot dead by Israeli forces along the Lebanon-Israel border, in the southern village of Adloun, Lebanon. (AP Photo/Mohammed Zaatari)

Saturday’s report said Lebanese security officials were urging Hezbollah to prevent the Hamas cell from carrying out an attack against Israel.

“Hezbollah completely controls southern Lebanon, and disregards UNIFIL, therefore, no one will be able to do anything without its approval, and if [it] agrees to this Hamas cell to carry out operations, then it is very dangerous for Lebanon,” the Beirut Observer said.

Hezbollah has long represented the most significant military threat on Israel’s borders, with an estimated arsenal of nearly 150,000 rockets and missiles that can reach anywhere in the country.

The Israel Defense Forces has estimated that a potential military campaign as part of a several-day flare-up with Hezbollah would likely wind up killing thousands of people in Lebanon, both civilians and Hezbollah fighters.

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