Hezbollah smuggles high-grade explosives into Israel

Court charges eight Israeli-Arab residents of Nazareth, Ghajar for helping transfer explosives; Shin Bet official says foiled operation would have needed Nasrallah's approval, adds: This is just the tip of the iceberg.

Picture of explosives seized by Shin Bet 370 (photo credit: Courtesy Shin Bet)
Picture of explosives seized by Shin Bet 370
(photo credit: Courtesy Shin Bet)
A series of Hezbollah terror attacks inside Israel were foiled recently by the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) after a group of Israeli-Arabs helped smuggle 20 kilograms of high-grade explosives into Israel.
On Wednesday, eight residents of Nazareth and the town of Ghajar - half of which is in Israel and the other half in Lebanon - were charged in the Nazareth District Court with assisting in the infiltration of the explosives.
The 20 kg of C-4 explosives - each kilogram was wrapped separately and could have been used to assemble a separate bomb - were smuggled into Israel in a single bag by a number of residents of Ghajar on June 5.
The bag was transferred a few days later to a resident of Nazareth, Abed Zoabi - another known drug dealer - who hid the bag in his backyard where it was captured by the Israel Police in mid July.
"The explosives could have been used against any type of target inside Israel," a senior Shin Bet official said on Wednesday. "This is just the tip of the iceberg of Hezbollah's efforts against Israel...the attempted attack here and the recent attack in Bulgaria are all carried out by the same organization."
The Shin Bet official said that such an operation - to infiltrate explosives into Israel from Lebanon - would have needed approval from the top Hezbollah echelon, including likely from the organization's leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah.
The official said that it was possible that Hezbollah was working with other people to recruit terrorists who would then be used to carry out the attacks. So far, the Shin Bet has not arrested anyone who was supposed to carry out the actual attacks.
Zoabi, according to the Shin Bet, was in touch with a Lebanese drug dealer named George Nimer who has ties with Hezbollah and instructed Zoabi to hold on to the bag of explosives. Nimer told Zoabi that someone would contact him in the near future to collect it.
The Shin Bet said that there was concrete intelligence linking Nimer to Hezbollah and specific operatives in the organization.
Zoabi and Nimer spoke by cellphone after two of Zoabi's friends helped smuggle Israeli SIM cards to Jordan where they were then transferred to Lebanon.
One of the suspected drug dealers arrested in Ghajar, Shahid Ibrahim, received the bag and hid it for a short time in a field he owns near the village. Ibrahim's brother-in-law is Said Kahamuz, an Israeli citizen and former resident of Ghajar who fled to Lebanon in 2006 as he stood trial for drug smuggling into Israel.