It’s taken weeks but Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah has been forced to acknowledge that Israel has penetrated his terror organization.
Lebanese media reported a number of weeks ago that an operative in charge of Hezbollah’s ‘foreign operations’ was discovered to be a spy for the Mossad, Israel’s international intelligence agency.
Former IDF general Yaakov Amidror, an official with Israeli military intelligence, told Reuters the arrest shows Hezbollah’s air of “impenetrability is not founded in fact.”
Sources close to the group identified the alleged spy as a man named Mohammad Shawraba, said to have joined the terror organization in his youth when the group first was getting started. Shawraba participated in attacks against the IDF in southern Lebanon before its withdrawal in 2000.
A Lebanese official said Shawraba is a wealthy businessman who travels between Spain and Italy. “He worked for the Mossad for several years and played a role in foiling attempts to get revenge for [the death of second-in-command Imad] Mughniyeh. He exposed several people who were planning to avenge his death.”
The man was actually detained five months ago, according to an interview with Nasrallah on Al Mayadeen television in Lebanon.
“For me, this is a breach and should not happen,” Nasrallah said, “but if it happens then it is part of the battle. It is part of the war between us and Israel.” The name of the infiltrator was not revealed in the interview, and Nasrallah made an effort to minimize his importance within the organization. “He confessed about all the information he has given and the extent of his cooperation,” he told the interviewer.
Nasrallah added that the arrest shows Hezbollah has remained vigilant throughout the 32 years of its struggle against Israel.
It is clear that others are not taking the matter so lightly, particularly in Lebanon. A senior government official told Reuters, “This is considered one of the most dangerous breaches in the ranks of Hezbollah, which operates in a secretive manner. But it will not pose any threat to the group,” he said.
The Iranian-backed Hezbollah terror group has been fighting alongside the Syrian Army to defend President Bashar al-Assad since the start of the civil war in Syria, together with Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards. The group, which is banned by the United States as well, is represented by a considerable segment of the national government cabinet as well as a faction in the Lebanese parliament.
Although Nasrallah speaks about avenging Mughniyeh’s death and waging war against Israel, he has remained in a secret hiding place since the end of the 2006 Second Lebanon War with Israel out of fear of assassination by Israeli agents.