IDF reveals identities of Hezbollah drug, weapon smugglers

One of the Hezbollah smugglers lives along the border and coordinates operations from his balcony.

 Infographic about Hezbollah smuggling operations along the Israel-Lebanon border (photo credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)
Infographic about Hezbollah smuggling operations along the Israel-Lebanon border
(photo credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)

The IDF's Arabic-language spokesperson Avichay Adraee revealed on Monday that Hatem Sheet, a resident of Kfarkela, a town along the Israeli border near Metula, runs drug and weapons smuggling operations from his home for Hezbollah.

Sheet is a prominent drug dealer in southern Lebanon. His home overlooks Israeli territory and is located close to the border. Sheet coordinates smuggling operations with Israeli smugglers through a variety of applications, including Telegram.

The smuggler also conducts reconnaissance work from the balcony of his home in order to gather information about the operations and movement of IDF forces in the area, according to Adraee.

Sheet has a number of operatives who he sends to throw the drugs or weapons over the border fence. Using his balcony to serve as a lookout, Sheet then guides Israeli smugglers to the location of the contraband in order to help them avoid Israeli forces.

Adraee also revealed that Hassan Sareini (nicknamed Abu Muhammad) runs smuggling operations in the field for Hezbollah official Hajj Khalil Harb. Sareini works with Sheet and other smugglers in southern Lebanon in order to smuggle weapons and drugs into Israel.

In March, the IDF announced that it had arrested two operatives suspected of being affiliated with Hezbollah and of carrying out terrorist smuggling operations for the movement. The IDF stated that the operatives worked under the direct instruction of Harb.

Hajj Khalil Harb (credit: IDF)Hajj Khalil Harb (credit: IDF)

In the announcement in March, the IDF identified Hasin Sheet and Akram Sheet as two Lebanese smugglers working for Hezbollah. It is unclear if they are related to the Hatem Sheet.

In July of last year, Adraee first accused Harb of running weapons and drug smuggling efforts for Hezbollah from Lebanon into Israel. Harb has in the past served as commander of Hezbollah's central military operations and supervised Hezbollah's military operations throughout the region.

Harb was sanctioned by the US Treasury Department as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist in August 2013 and the US State Department's Rewards for Justice program is offering up to $5 million for information of him.

The reveal by Adraee on Monday comes hours after a rocket was fired from Lebanon towards northern Israel. The IDF responded to the rocket fire by launching dozens of artillery shells towards southern Lebanon.