Israeli security officials on Thursday announced the July bust of a smuggling ring and arrest of at least four Arab-Israelis who had been coordinating with Hezbollah operatives in Lebanon to bring weapons and drugs into Israel via the country’s border with Lebanon with the possible intent of conducting an attack in the Jewish state during Israel’s Operation Protective Edge:
Crucially, the Shin Bet noted Hezbollah’s statements during Operation Protective Edge of its intent to assist Hamas in fighting Israel and added that the drug operation could well have been an attempt to cover a broader goal of importing weapons and establishing a terrorist infrastructure to perpetrate terrorist attacks.
The men were connected to five Lebanese citizens involved in the scheme, including known Hezbollah operative and drug dealer George Nimar:
The investigation revealed that Nimar had planned to transfer ammunition and drugs into Israel and that extensive preparatory work had been done along the border between Lebanon and Israel ahead of the planned smuggling operation.
Several of the suspects, all residents of towns in northern Israel, had been in contact with Nimar in the past, and one of them was apprehended with illegal weapons in his possession.
The Daily Star conveyed a statement from the Shin Bet to the effect that weapons smuggled from Lebanon had the potential to be used to conduct terror attacks inside Israel, amid Jerusalem’s nearly two-month-long hot conflict with Hamas, which had earlier this month boasted that it was looking to the Lebanese terror group to destabilize Israel’s northern border.
Ha’aretz reported that the “operation was part of a larger scheme” that would see the “drug dealers smuggling weapons over the border into Israel from Lebanon, Syria and Jordan.”
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