Israeli security forces revealed on Tuesday that a joint operation of the Shabak, IDF and Police has foiled a number of terrorist organizing efforts whose members, residents of Judea and Samaria, had been recruited via Facebook by Hezbollah agents living in Lebanon and the Gaza Strip. The arrest of these members has prevented the execution of several planned attacks inside Israel.
Shabak noted that Hezbollah has been very active in recent years with recruitment efforts of activists in greenline Israel, Judea and Samaria and Gaza, to carry out terror attacks against Israeli targets. Besides instructions for shooting and suicide attacks against these targets, the same activists also received training in luring and conscripting new members.
A terror cell from the Kalkilia area in Samaria was ordered to attack an IDF patrol. The head of the cell, Mustafa Kemal Hindi, 18, a resident of Kalkilia, had been recruited by Hezbollah in December 2015, through the Facebook page of Falastin al-Hurra, which delivers anti-Israel content.
Hindi told his interrogators that he kept in contact with his Hezbollah operator “Bilal” using Facebook and later through an email address he started on his operator’s instructions. He later received encryption software for his emails.
Hindi was instructed to recruit a cell and to carry out attacks against Israeli targets, including the shooting at an IDF patrol outside Kalkilia. He recruited four of his neighbors, in their early 20s, and the cell started collecting data on the IDF patrols in the area, and was trained in using a hunting gun and in improvising explosives. They were arrested in early June 2016 before they were able to carry out their intended mission and were indicted in military court in Judea.
Tuesday’s report lists several, very similar operations, conducted by Hezbollah via remote control using the fast and reliable services of Facebook. Some of these operations involved Israeli Arabs, who were approached by the Shabak and were made aware that communicating with Hezbollah over Facebook is a violation of security laws.
The financial part of the Hezbollah operations in Israel and the PA are being handled by members living in the Gaza Strip who lend logistical support to both recruitment and operational efforts.David Israel