Ben Gurion Airport.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Security forces arrested a Swedish-Lebanese suspect at Ben-Gurion Airport on July 21 on suspicion of landing in Israel to gather intelligence on sensitive targets on behalf of Hezbollah, the Shin Bet announced on Sunday.
The suspect, Hassan Khalil Hizran, born in 1969, was taken into custody after the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) received prior intelligence about him, suggesting he has ties to Hezbollah.
“During questioning by the Shin Bet, Hizran confessed,” the agency said, adding that the suspect provided an account of how he was recruited by the Hezbollah and subsequent cooperation with the Lebanese Shi’ite terrorist organization.
In 2009, according to Hizran’s testimony, he traveled with his wife and children to Lebanon, during which time he received an offer to meet with Hezbollah operatives and he agreed, the Shin Bet said.
During secret meetings with Hezbollah members, he was told the Lebanese terrorist organization was seeking to recruit Palestinians living in Europe who hold foreign passports and send them to Israel to gather intelligence for Hezbollah.
In 2011 and 2013, he traveled to Lebanon again, meeting each time with Hezbollah, according to the Shin Bet.
During these visits, Hizran allegedly began receiving missions, which included recruiting Israeli citizens, particularly those with ties to Jews or Israeli military personnel, or with links to Israeli government officials.
“Additionally, he was asked to gather information on locations in Israel where there are concentrations of military forces, weapons, tanks and military bases,” the Shin Bet added.
Hizran received orders to investigate how Israeli security at Ben-Gurion Airport operates, including the reception of passengers, security arrangements and passport control procedures.
In 2009, he allegedly received $2,300 for his meetings with Hezbollah and an additional $800 in 2011.
Hizran passed on information to the Shin Bet about an association in the Swedish city of Malmö, called the Lebanese House, whose members are Shi’ites that carry out social and cultural work among their communities.
“They hold Hezbollah-related days, watch speeches by Hezbollah head Hassan Nasrallah and more,” the Shin Bet said.
Central District prosecutors charged Hizran with passing on information, contact with a foreign agent and forbidden actions with terrorist property.
Swedish authorities have been updated by Israel about the investigation.
“Hizran’s activities prove the attractiveness for Hezbollah in activating foreign citizens who have access to Lebanon and Israel, out of an assumption that they can travel in Israel freely,” the Shin Bet stated.
His missions prove that Hezbollah continues to be interested in Israeli civilians who can travel around the country without arousing suspicion, particularly those with access to classified information.
Hezbollah’s orders to Hizran, to investigate security arrangements at Ben-Gurion Airport, underline the Lebanese organization’s desire to seek out a breach that will allow it to insert people into Israel without interruption or suspicions.
“The interest Hezbollah shows in military bases and military targets proves again that Hezbollah is preparing for the next war with Israel and is marking out these locations in its ‘target bank,’” the Shin Bet said.