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Israel Says Terrorist Who Killed U.S. Troops is Operating Hezbollah Cell in Syria

After a buildup on social media, the IDF revealed intelligence that Hezbollah set up a cell on the Syrian Golan headed by a terrorist who is wanted for killing five American soldiers in Iraq, The Times of Israel reported Wednesday.

According to the IDF, the Hezbollah cell is made up of Syrian fighters, including some Druze, who are commanded by Ali Musa Daqduq. Daqduq, a Lebanese national, was designated by the United States Treasury Department in 2012 for planning an attack in Karbala that killed five U.S. soldiers.

Israel believes that the current efforts of Hezbollah to establish a military infrastructure in Syria near the border with Israel are a continuation of the terror group’s efforts that began in 2013.  A January 2015 airstrike that was attributed to Israel killed Jihad Mughniyeh, whom Hezbollah had designated as commander of its operations in Syria, along with a number of other senior Hezbollah officials and an Iranian general. Samir Kuntar, who succeeded Mughniyeh, was killed in December 2015.

The Times reported that Hezbollah has been attempting to establish a military presence in Syria to threaten Israel, but it hasn’t had much success. However, the capture of the border area by Bashar al-Assad’s regime gives the terror group “an opportunity to again try to establish the necessary infrastructure with which it could threaten Israel near the border.”

According to an IDF statement, “The network is new and currently focused on becoming familiarized with the Golan Heights area. It is intended to eventually control teams of Syrian operatives who will launch attacks against Israel.”

“It is very significant, except for the fact this is not completely new,” Lieutenant Colonel (Res.) Sarit Zehavi, a former IDF intelligence official said in a press briefing hosted by The Israel Project. “Hezbollah, in the past [few] years, has been trying a few times to establish a military infrastructure in the Syrian side of the Golan, and this is the most updated one that the IDF has decided to reveal.”

Zehavi is currently the CEO of Alma, a center for studying Israel’s security challenges.

A complete recording of the call is embedded below.

[Photo: Israel Defense Forces / Twitter ]