Hizbullah Cell Uncovered in Shechem

Released for publication: IDF troops and General Security Services (GSS) agents arrested members of a Hizbullah cell operating in Samaria on February 25th.

, | updated: 13:56

The terrorists in custody, from the Palestinian Authority-controlled city of Shechem, were involved in espionage and reconnaissance for the Lebanese terrorist organization. Among the activities cell members were found to have carried out, with Hizbullah financing, was the photographing of military checkpoints, IDF bases and settlements. The photos were sent via the Internet to handlers in Lebanon, while the exact locations of the potential targets were recorded using a GPS (global positioning satellite) device hidden in a tape player on the dashboard of a car.

One of the terrorists, Wassam Badoui Salah Nasser, 21, a student at An-Najah University, was recruited by Hizbullah with the aid of local relatives during a family visit to Lebanon. According to Nasser's confession, he underwent military and espionage training in Lebanon, including how to collect information ahead of an attack on a senior VIP.

A second cell member, Mouad Rateb Haj-Muhammad Aslim, 21, an upholsterer and barber, admitted to taking part in bomb attacks in the Shechem area even prior to establishing contact, through, Nasser, with Hizbullah. The third terrorist, Raad Aouni Hasni Bader, 21, also a student at An-Najah University, aided Nasser in collecting intelligence for the Hizbullah.

The phenomenon of recruiting PA residents into Hizbullah while they are on family visits to Lebanon is becoming increasingly widespread, security officials report. The Hizbullah recruits are generally instructed to establish local cells to perpetrate terrorist attacks against Israeli civilian and military targets in both Judea and Samaria, as well as inside pre-1967 Green Line Israel.

In March, Jordan's King Abdullah II warned Jewish leaders in Washington that Syria and the Hizbullah were encouraging terrorist attacks against Israel in an effort to divert international attention from the situation in Lebanon.