A Cypriot court convicted a self-confessed member of the Lebanese Shi'ite terror group Hizbullah, who had been accused of involvement in a plot to attack Israeli interests on the Mediterranean island, according to Agence France Presse. Hossam Taleb Yaacoub, a dual Lebanese and Swedish citizen arrested last July in the port of Limassol, was found guilty on five counts, including participating in a criminal organisation, taking part in a criminal act and money laundering. He was cleared of three charges pertaining to conspiracy to commit a crime because they were covered by the other offenses. The court will reconvene on March 28 to hear mitigating arguments and for sentencing. Yaacoub faces a sentence of up to 14 years in prison.
Yaacoub told the court last month he had collected information on Israeli tourists visiting the island, but denied plotting to attack them. The 24-year-old said he had been asked to log information on Israeli flight arrivals in Cyprus and jot down the number plates of buses carrying tourists from the Jewish state. He said he was unaware what the information was for and was arrested last July before he could communicate the information to a handler, whom he did not know, in Lebanon. "Any logical explanation that could present these actions as innocent ones is completely lacking," judges said in an 80-page decision on how they reached their verdict. "The purpose of Hezbollah in connection with the actions of the accused, constitute a criminal organisation in this regard... based on the specific actions of the accused in Cyprus," the decision added.