Israel Arrests Two Arab Citizens Suspected of Working for Hezbollah

The two men from northern Israel were asked to establish a sleeper cell, smuggle weapons and abduct Israelis, according to the Shin Bet

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IDF Forces stationed on the Israel-Lebanon border in July, 2020.
IDF Forces stationed on the Israel-Lebanon border in July, 2020.Credit: Jalaa Marey / AFP
Yaniv Kubovich
Yaniv Kubovich

Two residents of northern Israel's Galilee region were arrested about a month ago on suspicion of having working for Hezbollah, the Shin Bet security service and the police disclosed Sunday morning.

Hezbollah operatives met the two men in Turkey several times and asked them to smuggle weapons into Israel, to establish a sleeper cell, help abduct Israelis, provide information on targets for missile attacks and locate suitable points to cross the border, according to the Shin Bet.

The two are suspected of weapons trafficking, contact with a foreign agent, providing services to a terror organization and conspiracy.

The Shin Bet said in their statement that their interrogation of the suspects, Sultan Atallah, 55 from Yarka and Rami Shami, 33 from Jadeidi-Makr, revealed that Hezbollah has worked for Iranian intelligence to recruit and field operatives through Lebanese drug dealers working with drug smugglers from Israel.

Rami Shami (L) and Sultan Attallah (R) were arrested for over a month, the Shin Bet disclosed.

Both suspects have already been convicted of drug smuggling in the past.  According to the Shin Bet, the pair were in contact with Hassine Shith, a Lebanese drug smuggler with connections to Hezbollah who has served time in prison in Israel.  During their investigation by the Shin Bet, they turned over an MP5 submachine gun.

According to the police statement, the two are also suspected of approaching two other a resident of Yarka, 56, and a resident of 'Akbara, age 40, to enlist their help. The four surveilled the area near the border fence to locate suitable crossing points and smuggling points.

Israeli security forces seized armed and drugs belonging to the suspects.

Back in December, a Palestinian man from Jerusalem was charged with gathering intelligence for Hezbollah over a nine-year stint, which began when he contacted a former prisoner who lived in Lebanon and told him he was interested in working for the organization from Israel.

That same month, an Israeli Arab woman confessed to taking pictures showing the Iron Dome anti-missile system, military vehicles, a military base and a hospital to a Hezbollah handler in Lebanon who contacted her via Facebook, according to her conviction.

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