Recent activities undertaken by the defense establishment were able to foil plots to kidnap senior Israeli officials abroad, a senior security official told Ynet Tuesday.
The Defense Ministry advised some reserve generals working abroad to return home because of a possible kidnap threat from Lebanon's Hizbullah guerrillas.The officials did not say how many officers were involved but said the warning was aimed at Israeli reservists in Africa and the Persian Gulf area.
According to the security source, in some cases, Israeli reservists received specific advanced warnings.
Al-Jazeera reported Tuesday morning that, according to Israeli defense officials, "the Mossad and Shin Bet ordered seven reserves officers to leave immediately the states in which they were staying and return to Israel, because their names appear on a Hizbullah list of kidnapping targets."
According to the Kuwait newspaper's report, the reserve officers in question deal in selling weapons and technology to states with whom Israel has no formal diplomatic ties, primarily Arab and Islamic states.
The defense establishment emphasizes that the kidnapping incidents were avoided largely because the reservists complied with their recommendations. Israel is unable to compel reservists to return from dangerous locations.
Last month Israel issued a general travel advisory telling Israelis abroad that Hizbullah has stepped up its efforts to kidnap Israelis, in retaliation of the assassination of Imad Mugniyah, a senior member of the organization, in February of this year, which the terror organization blames on Israel. The advisory included a list of precautions Israelis should follow while abroad.
In recent days, the defense establishment has been on heightened alert for the possibility that Hizbullah forces would attempt to kill or kidnap Israelis abroad.
A recent announcement by the Counter-Terror Bureau stated that: "Hizbullah blames Israel again and again for the death of Mughniyah, which increases the risk of terror… As such, the Counter-Terror Bureau stresses its travel advisory regarding the potential kidnap of Israelis abroad, particularly business people, and particularly those in contact with Arab or Muslim businessmen."
AP, Roee Nahmias contributed to the report