Northern District prosecutors formally charged six suspects with a host of security offenses on Thursday as the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) revealed it had thwarted an attempt by a Hezbollah terrorist cell to plant bombs in the Haifa area.
The agency said six residents of the Alawite village of Khadr on the Israel-Lebanon border were arrested in recent months on suspicion of “severe security offenses” following an investigation that began July 30 after security forces found explosives hidden south of Metulla near the Lebanese border.
Security forces subsequently raided the village and heard reports that residents were in touch with Hezbollah, carrying out cross-border smuggling runs and gathering intelligence. This led to two waves of arrests, including the apprehension of Diab Kahamuz, who was named as head of the cell, on September 4.
“It emerged during the investigation that he was in touch with his father, Sa’ad Kahamuz, a drug dealer from Khadr who fled to Lebanon in October 2006, and is known as someone who assists Hezbollah’s activities,” the Shin Bet said.
The elder Kahamuz acted as a liaison between Hezbollah and his family members in Khadr, particularly Diab, who allegedly contacted Hezbollah using encrypted email software. In May 2016 the son received two bombs that had been smuggled across the border and hid them.
“Diab was asked by Hezbollah to carry out an attack on a site of his choosing in Haifa,” the Shin Bet said. “Diab looked at the possibility of targeting a Nesher factory and told his brothers, Yussuf and Jamil. He planned to use the latter to assist him.”
The two brothers also were among those arrested.
Ultimately, Diab is alleged to have told Hezbollah he would target a bus stop at a junction near the village of Turan in the North that is frequented by soldiers returning to their bases on Sundays.
The Shin Bet said Hezbollah’s trafficking of explosives is closely related to the illegal narcotics trade since drug-smuggling routes are used to get weapons into Israel via Israeli drug dealers.