Lebanese-born Belgian Who Tried to Enter Israel Charged With Belonging to Terror Group

The suspect, originally from a Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon, allegedly received military training by Hezbollah and tried to enter Israel to commit an attack

File photo: The Allenby border crossing between Israel and Jordan.
Olivier Fitoussi

Israel on Thursday charged a Lebanese resident with Belgian citizenship as he attempted to enter the country in July, accuding him of involvement in a Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine terrorist cell.

Mustafa Khaled Awad, 36, hails from a Palestinian refugee camp in southern Lebanon, but at some point moved to Belgium and obtained Belgian citizenship. He was stopped in an attempt to enter Israel at Allenby Bridge at the Israel-Jordan border in July, following joint work by the Israeli police and Shin Bet security service.

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The joint Shin Bet and police investigation concluded that Awad had been recruited to the PFLP in 2010. That year, he underwent a three-day Hezbollah-run training course in Lebanon that included guidance on conducting and evading surveillance, according to the indictment. The indictment alleged that Awad also funneled money from Lebanon and Syria to a senior PFLP figure in Belgium. According to a court filing, Awad confessed to all the charges. 

Earlier, the Shin Bet said that Awad underwent military training by Hezbollah in Lebanon in 2015.

The PFLP advocates armed struggle against Israel and is designated a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union and others. The organization has been claimed dozens of terror attacks against Israelis at home and overseas, including the murder of former minister Rehavam Zeevi in 2001.

Investigative materials attest that Palestinian terror organizations are growing closer to the Shiite axis in general, and the Hezbollah in particular, the Shin Bet said. Among other things, Hezbollah has been allocating resources and facilities to training Palestinians to terrorism in Lebanon. The investment demonstrates the threat from terror organizations that recruit people with foreign papers, enabling them to enter Israel, according to the Shin Bet.