Know the enemy

A Hizbullah operative captured by the IDF describes his role in last month's kidnapping of reservists.

Suleiman dotz 298.88 (photo credit: IDF)
Suleiman dotz 298.88
(photo credit: IDF)
"My mission was to prevent armored Israeli reinforcements from chasing after the kidnappers," Hussein Ali Suleiman, a Hizbullah operative captured by the IDF, said when describing his role in the kidnapping last month of reservists Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev. Suleiman, 22, was captured several days ago by troops from the Golani Brigade operating in the southern Lebanese village of Ayta A Shayeb. Officers said that the operation was not related to the Hizbullah operative, who they said, surrendered to the troops after he realized that he was completely surrounded. Suleiman, a high-ranking officer revealed Monday, was part of the 100-man force that participated in the cross-border kidnapping on July 12. A commander of an anti-tank rocket cell, Suleiman did not cross the border into Israel, but was part of an outer-envelope force that the Hizbullah deployed to prevent Israeli reinforcements from chasing after the abductors. Suleiman did not provide any new information regarding the condition of the Israeli soldiers being held by the Hizbullah. Senior military officials stressed this week however that the IDF was working according to the assumption that both Goldwasser and Regev were still alive and were being held in Lebanon. Last week, Special Forces conducted a raid in Baalbek in the Beka Valley deep in Lebanon following information that the kidnapped soldiers were treated in a hospital in the area. In a videotaped segment of Suleiman's interrogation released on Monday by Military Intelligence, the Hizbullah operative revealed how he was recruited into the guerrilla group in 2000 and how he participated in a religious "brainwashing" seminar following which he was sent to Iran for tactical warfare training. He said that he was trained how to use a number of weapons, in the use of explosives and first aid. The Golani Brigade, Suleiman told his interrogator, was respected by the Hizbullah and was referred to by the guerrilla group as a "group of soldiers well-trained in warfare and military tactics." July's cross-border attack was not the first time Suleiman participated in a Hizbullah attempt to abduct Israeli soldiers. He told his interrogator that he was also part of a guerrilla force that attacked an IDF outpost in the northern village of Rhajar last November. "The main goal was to abduct soldiers," Suleiman said of the failed attempt in Rhajar. "But the secondary goal of striking Israeli outposts was achieved."