A Palestinian terror cell directed and funded by Hezbollah was arrested by Israel after planning a shooting attack against Israeli forces. The arrest was cleared for publication on Wednesday, January 20.
The cell was led by 32-year-old Mahmoud Zaghloul from the Palestinian city of Tulkarem in Samaria. Zaghloul was recruited by Jawad Nasrallah, son of Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah, through online social networks and was controlled and directed by Hezbollah.
According to the Israel Security Agency (ISA), Zaghloul received orders from a Hezbollah handler named Fadi. He opened an email account through which he was instructed to recruit other cell members and to gather preliminary information for the purpose of carrying out terror attacks.
Hezbollah, the Lebanon-based terrorist organization which kidnapped two Israeli soldiers thus sparking the Second Lebanon War in 2006, has tried unsuccessfully in recent years to carry out many attacks in Israel. Hezbollah succeeded this time in developing an operational terror cell.
The terror cell was directed to plan suicide bombing attacks and to gather intelligence on IDF training camps, said the ISA statement. Hezbollah also sent the cell $5,000 to plan a shooting attack against IDF forces.
The other cell members arrested are 28-year-old Rabah Labdi, 19-year-old Mohamed Zaghloul, 19-year-old Mohamed Masarwa, and 19-year-old Ahmed Abu-Alez, all residents of Tulkarem. Labdi and Zaghloul have both been imprisoned previously by Israel.
After purchasing pistols from the leader of the cell, Masarwa and Abu-Alez were apprehended while carrying the weapons on their way to perpetrate the shooting attack. The suspects were interrogated by the ISA after being arrested in a joint operation with the IDF and the Israel Police.
“Hezbollah is trying to ride the current wave of terror attacks in Israel and is acting to inflame and incite by exploiting the Palestinian population and tempting them to carry out terror attacks in exchange for money,” said a spokesperson for the ISA.
The cell members have been indicted in a military court in Judea and have been charged with numerous offenses, including membership in an unlawful association, contact with an enemy, receiving enemy funding, conspiring to intentionally cause death, conspiring to carry out a shooting attack, and illicit trade of weapons.