Nazareth man indicted for Hizbullah ties

Was to purchase restaurant in Haifa area and befriend security officials.

hizbullah nasrallah 298 (photo credit: AP [file])
hizbullah nasrallah 298
(photo credit: AP [file])
A 38-year-old Israeli Arab from the Galilee who admitted to being recruited by a Hizbullah operative in Uganda to compile intelligence information on the movement of security forces, was indicted in the Nazareth Magistrates court on Thursday. The man was arrested by the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) and Israel Police on November 7. His identity is banned from publication. He confessed to investigators that he had been instructed to purchase a restaurant in the Haifa area together with a Jewish partner, and take advantage of the venue to befriend members of the security forces and glean information from them on IDF movements, bases and planned operations against the Hizbullah. In order to ensure the plan would succeed, Hizbullah was willing to provide him funds to the tune of $1million. The man was charged with contacting and assisting an enemy during wartime, initiating contact with a member of an enemy organization, and providing information to the enemy. According to details released by the Shin Bet on Thursday, the suspect traveled to South Africa to visit his relatives in July. There he met up with his brother in law identified as Mustafa Ibrahim, who lives in Dubai. The latter told the suspect that he wanted to introduce him to Hizbullah operatives located in Uganda and that they would travel together under the guise of businessmen. Once there, they met up with a Hizbullah operative identified as Abu Mohammed, who asked the suspect, because of his knowledge of Hebrew, to supply Hizbullah with intelligence information. Abu Mohammed also asked the suspect if he had any acquaintances who serve in the Israeli security forces and advised him to take advantage of his contacts to glean information from them. Several weeks later, after the suspect returned home he received a telephone call from Ibrahim who asked him to travel to Bulgaria and meet Abu Mohammed. On September 15 the accused traveled to Bulgaria with Ibrahim and met Abu Mohammed, who asked him to compile information on IDF bases and instillations and supply him telephone numbers of drug dealers. Abu Mohammed once again asked the accused details of his contacts with members of the Israeli security forces. The former acknowledged he was in touch with several policemen and supplied Abu Mohammed with their names, telephone numbers and positions. Abu Mohammed then advised the suspect to use one of them as his source. He also advised him to purchase a high class restaurant together with a Jewish partner, an easy venue to get familiar with members of the security forces. Abu Mohammed stressed that the Hizbullah would provide him with up to $1million to fund the project. The accused said he was aware of a Haifa restaurant whose owners were searching for partners. After the meeting, Abu Mohammed paid the accused the sum of $1000 and telephone numbers where he could be contacted. He also informed the accused that he would train him in the art of surveillance and compiling intelligence information. The accused returned home, The Shin Bet noted that a month prior to his arrest he had contacted Abu Mohammed several times on the telephone. Security officials said that since the IDF withdrawal from southern Lebanon in May 2000, Hizbullah has intensified its efforts to recruit Israeli Arabs. Since the outbreak of the Al Aksa intifada in September 2000, security forces have uncovered 14 incidents involving Israeli Arabs and Hizbullah operatives from southern Lebanon.