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Hezbollah on Trial

Arkia airplane (archives) Photo: Ilan Levy
Arkia airplane (archives) Photo: Ilan Levy
 
Hassan Nasrallah Photo: EPA
Hassan Nasrallah Photo: EPA
 
 

Hezbollah operative: 'I received $600 per month'

Lebanese man with Swedish passport accused of planning terrorist attacks against Israelis in Cyprus admits to logging arrival times of Arkia flights into Larnaca; also provided details of Hezbollah training: 'They taught us to shoot M-16, RPG'

Ynet
Published: 02.22.13, 11:35 / Israel News

The trial of the Hezbollah man in Cyprus continues to reveal details on the activities of the terror organization throughout Europe. Hossam Taleb Yaacoub, a 24 year old Lebanese with a Swedish passport said Thursday that he received orders to log the arrival times of Israeli flights to Cyprus. He stands charged with attempting to harm Israeli targets on the island.

 

In the New York Times, which has been publishing updates of the trial which may influence the European Union to add Hezbollah to its list of terror organizations, it was stated that Yaacoub admitted he went by the code name "Wael."

 

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On the organization’s payroll since 2010, Yaacoub said he was earning $600 per month. When asked why he used a code name he replied, "In general, the party is based on secrecy between members. We don’t know the real names of our fellow members."

 

Yaacoub said that his handler, who he knew by the name Ayman, ordered him to log the arrival times of Arkia flights in Larnaca. Whenever he needed to contact his handler, he would send an SMS about "the weather." The Hezbollah operative described himself as a "pawn" fulfilling orders.

 
"יש לקרוא לחיזבאללה בשמו - ארגון טרור" (צילום: EPA)

Hezbollah - will EU call it terror organization? (Photo: EPA)

 

Prosecutors see it otherwise, and charges against him include involvement in planning of terror against Israelis. Intelligence experts in the US and Israel say that Yaacoub is a "small player" in a covert war being waged by Iran and Hezbollah against Israel.

 

During the trial, Yaacoub said that he was transported by commercial vehicles to training bases, with no knowledge of where he was being taken. According to details he provided, training units were made of 10 – 13 people, and members received training on RPGs, M-16s, AK-47s and other weapons. During police interrogation, Yaacoub admitted to using explosives, but during his trial, he denied this.

 

Throughout his testimony, the young man insisted he was not knowingly involved in the attempt to harm Israelis in Europe, and added that as a member of Hezbollah, he had the right to say no to involvement in terror activities. "If I was asked to participate in attacks, I had the right to refuse," he said.

 

Yaacoub was arrested a half year ago, and according to reports, the Mossad was involved in bringing him in. At that point it was already suspected that he was involved in attempts to carry out terror attacks against Israeli targets in Cyprus, including the planting of explosives on a plane or boat. He denies this, but admits that his handler demanded he look for Kosher restaurants in Limassol.

 

In addition, he admits to being sent by the Hezbollah to Antalya, Amsterdam and Lyon, areas which also have a large Jewish and Israeli presence, according to prosecutors, with the cover story of being a businessman.

 

A verdict is expected in March. In the meantime, Israel and the US are pressuring the EU to add the Hezbollah to its list of recognized terror groups. On Thursday Israeli President Shimon Peres joined the call, saying: "Hezbollah must be called by its name – a terrorist organization."

 

 

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