Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah appears on Al-Manar television.
(photo credit: AFP PHOTO)
There is nothing groundbreaking in the fact that Hezbollah tried to establish a terror network in the West Bank which was intended to carry out attacks against Israel. The organization is constantly trying to do so. The interesting part of the Shin Bet’s (Israel Security Agency) announcement Wednesday was that one of the network’s commanders was Jawad Nasrallah, the son of Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah.
His oldest son, Hadi, was a Hezbollah special forces fighter who was killed in a battle with IDF soldiers from the Egoz reconnaissance unit in 1997 in south Lebanon. His body was taken to Israel and was used as a “bartering chip” in a swap deal nine months later for the return to Israel of the bodies of naval commandos who lost their lives en route to a covert mission in southern Lebanon. Hassan Nasrallah and his wife, Fatima, have three other children.
Jawad is not a fighter or operative.
He made his mark more as an “Internet personality” who tends to tweet a lot and post statuses on Facebook, especially after Hezbollah fighters are killed in operations attributed to Israel.
It may be that his heart’s desire was to be a fighter, or perhaps his father decided for him. It is possible that it was decided to give him the task of Internet recruitment as an “initiation” test to check his operational-intel abilities, while taking advantage of his knowledge of social media.
Jawad became what is referred to in intel circles as a “finder” – someone who is responsible for locating potential recruits. Western intelligence services work in this manner, including Israel, using social networks for recruitment.
Terrorist organizations such as Hamas, Hezbollah and ISIS also use this method.
Working together with Jawad was another agent, who was named in the Shin Bet announcement as “Fadi.” Fadi was an operative in Unit 133 (formerly known as Unit 1800), which is responsible for operations in Israel and the West Bank.
Using encrypted messages, they enlisted five Palestinians from the Tulkarm area, who were eventually arrested by the Shin Bet, and instructed them to gather intel and plan terrorist attacks, including preparing explosive vests for suicide attackers. Hezbollah funded their operation by sending them $5,000 through money changers. It is not a large sum of money, but it is a considerable amount in West Bank terms.
If the members of the terrorist cell had proven themselves and carried out their tasks, larger amounts of money would have been sent their way.
Part of the money was used by two members of the cell to buy weapons. It can be assumed that the Shin Bet and IDF uncovered the cell through intelligence gained by technological means and field operatives.
As was previously mentioned, Hezbollah constantly tries to build itself terrorist and intel infrastructure in the West Bank and among Israeli Arabs. More than three years ago the Shin Bet discovered such a cell, which tried to use a network of Lebanese drug traffickers.
The traffickers have a close working relationship with Hezbollah based on the principle of “We in Hezbollah will turn a blind eye to your drug deals and huge profits, and in return you will help us.” The drug traffickers were enlisted to use their connections with Israeli drug dealers to recruit agents and collaborators.
However, it appears now that Hezbollah has concluded that there is more fertile ground for their recruiting efforts to establish terrorist cells among West Bank residents amid the current Palestinian wave of terrorism.