Nasrallah (right) Hugs Ahmadinejad
Nasrallah (right) Hugs AhmadinejadIsrael News Photo: (file)

Egypt's discovery of a large Hizbullah cell operating in its country has united Israel and Egypt in a fierce verbal onslaught against the Lebanese-based political-terror organization. Cairo called Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah a "criminal" and Israeli Transportation Minister Yaakov Katz (Likud) said he "deserves death."

Details of the ring's operations in Egypt reveal that the group's 49 terrorists plotted to kill Israeli tourists in Egypt, possessed suicide explosive belts and were planning to buy a boat to smuggle weapons for Hamas in Gaza.

The Egyptian Al Ahram newspaper reported that Egypt intends to indict Nasrallah. The government-owned Al-Gomhuria newspaper referred to him as the "Sheikh Monkey...who is a highway robber [and] pure criminal."

Nasrallah has admitted that Sami Shehab, a Lebanese member of the ring, was a Hizbullah agent. Confirming allegations by Israel that Hizbullah has been leading operations to smuggle Iranian weapons in to Gaza, he stated in a speech, "If helping the Palestinians is a crime, I officially admit to my crime."

The terrorist organization, which has become a political power and is a part of the Lebanese Cabinet, claims that it is becoming increasingly recognized as a legitimate political entity. Nasrallah deputy Naim Kassem, in a recent rare interview with an American reporter, confirmed American and Israeli accusations that Hizbullah's leadership unifies its terrorist and political operations.

"The same leadership that directs the parliamentary and government work also leads jihad actions in the struggle against Israel," he said.

Hizbullah has found a close ally with Venezuela, and the British government recently said it would begin dialogue with Hizbullah leaders.

The terrorist-political party is gearing up for Lebanese legislative elections in June. It is allied with Shi'ite Muslims, leftists and pro-Syrian Christians, and its domination of southern Lebanon through charity and social support organizations has made it increasingly popular.