Israeli Arab Gets 14 Years in Prison for Smuggling Hezbollah Arms, Planning Attack

Nazareth District Court sentences four other Israeli Arabs to prison terms ranging from two to three years for security and drug offenses

The convicted men in Nazareth District Court, February 2, 2018.
Gil Eliahu

Five men from an Israeli Arab village on the Lebanese border were sentenced Tuesday to prison terms ranging from two to 14 years for security and drug offenses.

The men, from Ghajar, were convicted last month in Nazareth District Court after an investigation that began in July 2016. Diab Kahamuz, 32, received a 14-year sentence for smuggling explosives he received from Hezbollah into Israel from Lebanon and choosing possible sites in northern Israel for a terror bombing. He was convicted of aiding the enemy in wartime and of contact with a foreign agent, but acquitted of espionage and providing information to the enemy. He was also fined 120,000 shekels ($34,500).

His brother Youssef Kahamuz, 30, was sentenced to three years in prison for conspiracy, abetting contact with a foreign agent and obstructing an investigation. A third brother, Jamil Kahamuz, 35, received the same sentence and was also convicted of helping to provide information to the enemy. They were fined 20,000 shekels each.

Mohssan Kahamuz, 32, was fined and given a three-year sentence for drug offenses. Mamdouh Ibrahim, 22, was convicted on drug-related offenses only and was sentenced to two years in prison and a fine.

A sixth man, Adal Ayunat, 30, was sentenced to three and a half years in prison after pleading guilty in a plea bargain.

The six were charged in October 2016.

The police and the Shin Bet security services discovered that Diab Kahamuz, the central figure, had contacted Hezbollah activists, who gave him two explosive devices. He had planned to carry out an attack at the Golani Junction, but the devices were seized by the security forces. The three Kahamuz brothers, Diab, Youssef and Jamil, are the sons of Saad Kahamuz, a drug dealer who fled from Israel to Lebanon in 2006, after being suspected of transferring information and equipment to Hezbollah activists in Lebanon in exchange for drugs.

The investigation found that Saad suggested that Diab take advantage of the drug smuggling routes to bring explosives into Israel. His son agreed, and contacted Hezbollah, and they agreed on a date for bringing in the explosive devices. In May 2016 Hezbollah tossed the devices to Kamhuz over the border fence. He hid them in a bag in a forest near Metula and awaited instructions.

Diab’s handlers are said to have instructed him to find a place for an attack in Haifa, whereas he thought that because of security in Haifa the attack should be in Nesher. He told his handlers that he hadn’t found a suitable place in Haifa, although he didn’t even check. When instructed to find an alternative site he suggested the station for transporting soldiers at the Golani Junction on Sunday afternoon, when it’s full of soldiers. He went there on his handlers’ instructions and photographed it with his brother Youssef. Jamil transferred the photos to Hezbollah.