Jerusalem, Aug. 8 – Israeli security services have foiled a dangerous plot masterminded by Iran-backed Hezbollah to smuggle explosives from Lebanon into Israel to set off a series of bomb attacks.
Eleven suspects were formally charged in a Nazareth court on Wednesday. They were arrested last month but the case was kept secret until now.
Those arrested came from the village of Ghajar, which straddles the Israeli border with Lebanon, and the city of Nazareth in northern Israel. They had allegedly been in contact with drug smugglers in Lebanon who were working for Hezbollah.
Israel has accused Hezbollah, which dominates the Lebanese government and has tens of thousands of missiles aimed at Israel, of being behind last month’s suicide bomb attack on Israeli tourists in Bulgaria that killed five Israelis. Hezbollah is armed and financed by Iran and supported by Syrian President Hafez al-Assad.
According to the Jerusalem Post, 20 kg (48 lbs.) of C-4 explosives carefully wrapped in one-kilo packages were smuggled into Israel in a single bag by a number of residents of Ghajar on June 5. Four of them had detonators attached.
These bombs could have caused massive casualties. Only 3 kg (7 lbs.) of explosives were used in the July 18 bombing in Bulgaria that killed five Israeli tourists and a Bulgarian.
The bag was transferred a few days later to a resident of Nazareth who hid the bag in his backyard where it was captured by the Israel Police in mid-July.
"This is one of the most severe and dangerous security plots we've had here. The intelligence provided by the police's northern border unit was of extremely high quality," a district police officer told Israel Radio on Wednesday.
According to a police spokesman, "Over the past year, Hezbollah has been greatly motivated to carry out terrorist attacks against Israelis and Jews. Hezbollah has worked to gather intelligence information to carry out a significant terrorist attack. In order to achieve their set goal of carrying out a high-profile, effective attack inside Israel, Hezbollah smuggled in large bombs, including operating systems and timers."