Israel Police say Lebanon’s Iranian proxy terror group Hezbollah is attempting to smuggle “quality weapons” to Israeli Arabs for use in a future war, according to Israel’s Channel 12 News.
The weapons are mostly destined for crime operations in the Israeli Arab community, where they would also be available to arm local Arabs for terror attacks during future violence against Jews.
There has been an exponential rise in weapons smuggling attempts through the northern border with Lebanon and the eastern border with Jordan since Israel’s mini-war in May 2021 with Hamas in Gaza, police said. During that 11-day conflict, Israel experienced some of the worst riots and violence in decades from Israeli Arabs.
Ninety-five person of the smuggling from Lebanon is being directed by Hezbollah, according to Chief Police Superintendent Yaron Ben-Yishi, head of the northern district police intelligence division.
It was also during the conflict in May that Hezbollah “saw the sensitivity surrounding the Temple Mount (in Jerusalem) and they know that on the day that things explode, Arab Israelis will have enough weapons to use them for [the terror group’s] hostile terror activities,” Ben Yishi said.
Police describe the upgraded smuggling operations and the improved quality of the weapons being brought in as a “strategic threat” to the Jewish State.
This past Sunday, a 26-year-old Israeli was shot and killed and three others were wounded in a Hamas terror attack in the Old City of Jerusalem. The terrorist was a resident of Jerusalem armed with an Italian-manufactured submachine gun of much higher quality than those produced locally in the Palestinian Authority.
Northern District police officers have seized 140 handguns and 20 assault rifles since the start of this year alone, but estimate smugglers have succeeded in bringing in many more weapons, Channel 12 reported.
The Israeli cabinet in October approved a five-year plan to allicate NIS 2.5 billion ($750 million) to fight crime in Israeli Arab communities.
Since the start of 2021, at least 93 Israeli Arabs and 18 Palestinian Authority Arabs in Israeli-controlled areas have been killed in suspected homicides, according to the nonprofit organization Abraham Initiatives.