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August 17, 2016

Israel Busts Terror Cells Sponsored by Hezbollah, Recruited via Facebook

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Israel has arrested Palestinian terrorists in the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) and the Gaza Strip who were recruited by Hezbollah through social media. Hezbollah is the Lebanese-based, Shiite Muslim, U.S.-designated terrorist group.

According to The Times of Israel, two separate Palestinian terror cells had “planned to carry out suicide bombing and ambush IDF patrols in the West Bank (“Hezbollah terror cells, set up via Facebook in West Bank and Israel, busted by Shin Bet,” Aug. 16, 2016).”

The Shin Bet, Israel’s domestic security agency, thwarted the plot “earlier this summer.” The case was only publicly revealed on August 16, 2016.

Times of Israel correspondent Judah Ari Gross reported that the head of the West Bank terror cell, a Palestinian Arab named Mustafa Kamal Hindi, “told interrogators that he’d been recruited through a Facebook page, ‘Palestine the Free,’ where Hezbollah posted ‘anti-Israel and pro-jihad content.’” Hindi and four other members of his cell were detained by Israeli authorities in June 2016.

The Gaza Strip cell consisted of three Palestinians. Gross noted:

“Mehmed Fa’iz Abu-Jadian, a resident of the Gaza Strip and member of Hezbollah’s Unit 133, reached out to Usama Nu’af Sid Najm, a 36-year-old resident of Qabalan, south of Nablus, through Facebook.

After making initial contact through the social media, Abu-Jadian instructed Najm to use a computer encryption program in order to contact Hezbollah operatives in Lebanon, according to the investigation.

Najm also agreed to recruit others to join Hezbollah and eventually carry out a suicide bombing on an Israeli bus ‘in exchange for $900,’ the Shin Bet said.”

Gross said that Najm was attempting to set up a branch of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a U.S.-designated terrorist group that, like Hamas and Hezbollah, among others, receives extensive Iranian support.

The Gaza cell used Facebook to set up initial contacts and later moved to emails, phone calls and eventually encrypted communications. The group planned to carry out a shooting attack on Israeli soldiers in the Jenin area. The Shin Bet stated that Hezbollah has made “multiple attempts…to recruit operatives among the country’s [Israel’s] Arab population through a Facebook profile that posted anti-Israel and pro-Palestinian sentiments.”

CAMERA has previously highlighted how Facebook has allowed terrorist-sponsored media to operate on its platform, while blocking articles by pro-Israel commentators, such as Bernard-Henri Levy (see, for example “Facebook Allows Hamas News Agency to Operate Freely,” Oct. 26, 2015). Hezbollah’s use of the social media network is disconcerting.

As CAMERA’s July 2016 backgrounder noted, Hezbollah is a well-armed terrorist organization that remains committed to Israel’s destruction (“Hezbollah Backgrounder: 2016,” July 19, 2016). Hezbollah has made clear who its principal benefactor is.

According to the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), a non-profit organization that translates Arab and Iranian media Hezbollah chieftain Hassan Nasrallah stated in June 24, 2016 speech: “Hizbullah’s budget—its salaries and expenditures, [the money that pays for] its food and drink, weapons and missiles—[all come from] Iran. Is that clear? As long as Iran has money we have money.”

In a July 8, 2015 Op-Ed in The Hill (“Iran becoming a responsible international player—the mother of all mirages”), a Washington D.C.-based publication, CAMERA pointed out that many media outlets have erroneously labeled Iranian rulers as “moderate.” Yet, as the arrests of Hezbollah-supported terror cells indicate, Iran—and its proxies who ‘share’ the group’s goals—are anything but.


Posted by SD at August 17, 2016 09:51 AM

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