Israeli authorities foiled a Hezbollah plot to carry out a terrorist attack in the Haifa area through an Arab Israeli cell, news sources reported Thursday. Seven Arab Israeli residents of the village of Ghajar, located on the Israel-Lebanon border, were indicted on charges of espionage, contact with a foreign agent, and other offenses.
The main defendant and the head of the cell, Diab Kahamuz, “was in touch with his father, a drug dealer from Ghajar who fled to Lebanon in October 2006, and is known as someone who assists Hezbollah’s activities,” the Shin Bet stated in its report. A farmer found a bag with two explosives near the town of Metula on July 30. Kahamuz and the other defendants brought the explosives over the Israeli border from Lebanon using drug-smuggling routes. They were instructed to detonate the explosives in a crowded place in Haifa. The defendants scouted locations and ultimately decided to target a bus stop near Tu’ran, in Israel’s north, which is frequently used by Israeli soldiers. When the indicted men were arrested on September 4, Israeli authorities seized their computers and cell phones, on which they discovered photos of possible bombing targets that had been sent to Hezbollah.
Hezbollah has increasingly been making attempts to carry out terrorist attacks on Israelis through using cells made up of Arab Israelis and Palestinians. The Shin Bet announced in August that it had broken up two separate Hezbollah recruiting rings in the West Bank over the previous several months. One of the cells was planning to attack an IDF patrol near Qalqilya, a city in the northern West Bank, and was given instructions via Facebook by Unit 133, Hezbollah’s foreign operations division, to carry out terrorist attacks and recruit other individuals to Hezbollah. One of the men the Shin Bet arrested was paid $900 for organizing attacks against Israeli targets, including a suicide bombing on a bus, and recruiting more people to Hezbollah. An additional recruit was instructed to carry out a shooting attack against Israeli forces stationed in Jenin, in the northern West Bank.
Another Iranian-backed jihadist organization, Harakat al-Sabirin, announced in January that it had extended operations into the West Bank and Jerusalem. The group, whose flag is nearly identical to Hezbollah’s, took credit for detonating an IED near an IDF patrol on the Israel-Gaza border last December.
An IDF tank fired at a Hamas target in the southern Gaza strip on Thursday after Palestinian terrorists launched a mortar shell at southern Israel. The shell landed in an open area of Israel’s Eshkol region – no injuries were reported. The Times of Israel reported that sources within Gaza claimed to have witnessed Israeli strikes in the central Strip as well. Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman announced, “All [rocket] fire from Gaza into the sovereign land of the State of Israel will get a forceful response. Hamas rules the Strip with a firm hand and when it wants to get something or prevent something, it knows how to do that.”
This is the second day in a row that terrorists have launched deadly projectiles into Israel. On Wednesday, a rocket was fired at the southern city of Sderot, landing on a residential street and sending three Israelis to the hospital to be treated for anxiety attacks. An ISIS-affiliated group, Ahfad al-Sahaba-Aknaf Bayt al-Maqdis, claimed responsibility for the attack. As it is Israeli policy that Hamas is responsible for all attacks originating in the Strip, Israel retaliated to the rocket fire by launching airstrikes and firing tank shells at Hamas infrastructure in Gaza. While Hamas warned on Wednesday that it would not “sit idly by” in the face of Israel’s airstrikes, the terrorist group reportedly sent a message to Israel, through a third party, that it did not want further escalation.
Beginning last August, rocket fire into Israel has prompted exceptionally muscular responses from Israel. Running counter to Israel’s usual tit-for-tat retaliation, the IDF seized the opportunity in these instances to attack dozens of Hamas infrastructure targets.
A regional Spanish High Court upheld a ruling last week declaring that a municipal boycott of Israel was illegal and discriminatory, The Jerusalem Post reported Wednesday.
The High Court of Spain’s northwestern Asturias region found that the Langreo City Council lacked the “competencies to decree an international boycott and to alter the European Directive and the national law on public procurement” when it agreed to boycott Israel, according to ACOM, a group that opposes the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign in Spain. “In addition the High Court expands on the blatant unconstitutional discrimination and lack of neutrality that such a boycott would represent.”
The case marked the first time that a Spanish High Court has ruled on the BDS campaign. ACOM President Angel Mas said nearly 60 Spanish municipalities have declared boycotts of Israel during the past year, representing a “growing trend in Spain among local municipalities.” In some cases, the local governments enact the boycotts intentionally, while in others they are deceived into adopting the measures by anti-Israel activists.
“We have to create the opposite deterrence, letting them know that there are consequences for their actions,” Mas explained. “Otherwise they [BDS] will win.”
According to ACOM, the regional High Court ruling will boost its efforts to expose the BDS campaign’s discriminatory nature through the judicial system. The ruling sets a precedent, expanding a previous constitutional doctrine to allow any Jew to sue for the defamation against a coreligionist or the Jewish community, and groups like ACOM to act against slander or discrimination against Israelis.
Premium American cable company HBO will produce a miniseries about the kidnapping and killing of three Israeli teens two years ago, according to popular entertainment magazine Variety. HBO will team up with Israeli filmmaker Joseph Cedar, best known for his two Oscar-nominated pictures, Beaufort and Footnote and Israeli production company Keshet International to film the 10-episode series next summer in Israel.
The show will follow an “idealistic investigator for the Shin Bet” as he seeks to uncover the whereabouts of the Israeli teens, a joint statement said. “A new command position thrusts him into a confrontation that undermines his faith and worldview, leading to a dramatic conflict between his values and the actions of those closest to him.”
Gilad Shaar (16), Eyal Yifrach (19), and Naftali Fraenkel (16), were abducted from a West Bank hitchhiking post on June 12, 2014 and murdered soon afterward. Their investigation prompted a massive search operation and crackdown on Hamas in the West Bank, which took responsibility for killing the three boys, calling it a “heroic operation.”