Four Arab Israelis have been indicted for ties to Hezbollah and for smuggling munitions and drugs into Israel, the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) said Thursday. Iranian-made explosives were found in their possession, it said.
Mahmoud Issa, Ahmed Issa, and Galal Harsa, residents of Kafr Kassem; and Noach Asam, a resident of Lod, allegedly were part of a smuggling ring that was involved in receiving and distributing illegal drugs from Hezbollah. The terrorist organization manages a global narcotics network as part of its financing operations.
The Israeli citizens, ages 28-39, are suspected of smuggling high-grade explosives from Hezbollah, the Shin Bet said. Two Iranian-made explosives and another high-explosive device were seized by security forces, it said, adding that one of the suspects said he had intended to use the device for a criminal plot.
How were the suspects identified?
A joint investigation by the Israel Police, the IDF, and the Shin Bet led to a raid of a residence in Lod by the Israel Police Counterterrorism Unit and the Border Police in July. The discovery led to the arrest of the other Israelis, who were part of a criminal group.
“This affair once again illustrates the efforts of terrorist elements from Hezbollah and Iran to exploit the Arab citizens of Israel for security activities against the state,” a Shin Bet official said. “It also emerged in the investigation that the [separation] between the security offender and the regular criminal is extremely thin.”
The Shin Bet said it would work to thwart future attempts by Iran and Hezbollah to operate in Israel.