In "Operation Time Bomb," police and Israel Security Agency arrest 14
Israeli Arab members of terrorist cell that smuggled weapons and
explosives from Lebanon into Israel • Security services disrupt plot
before bombs get to their handler, foiling plans to carry out huge
wave of terrorist attacks against Israeli targets.
Israel has foiled a massive plot to carry out a "mega-attack" or wave
of several deadly terrorist attacks against Israeli targets, it was
announced on Wednesday. The Israel Police´s Northern District´s
Border Unit and the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) scored a
significant intelligence success by uncovering an Israeli-Arab cell
smuggling weapons and explosives from Lebanon into Israel.
Eleven suspects were indicted Wednesday in a Nazareth court on
charges of aiding the enemy in a time of war, meeting with foreign
agents, possession of weapons,conspiracy to commit a crime, attempted
drug smuggling and attempted drug trafficking.
Following the lifting of a gag order on the case Wednesday, it was
revealed that the cell, made up of three distinct groups and
comprising 14 individuals smuggled in 24 ready-to-use C4 high-quality
bombs with attached timers into the northern border town of Ghajar,
which straddles the Israel-Lebanon border. In addition to the
explosive devices, the suspected cell members were caught, following
an extensive intelligence gathering operation, with an FN MAG general-
purpose machine gun and an M16 rifle stolen from the Israel Defense
Of the 14 suspects, six are from Ghajar (one of the suspects is
reportedly just 17 years old and another is related to the village´s
elder), six are from Nazareth and one from Ramle in the center of the
From Ghajar, the explosives were transferred to Kafr Kana and
Nazareth. The operation was dubbed "Time Bomb" as the security
services were racing against time to make sure the explosives weren´t
scattered across the country. The cells were operated by the
Hezbollah: One cell operated in Lebanon and transferred the
explosives to the cell based in Ghajar. The Ghajar cell then worked
with the Nazareth-based cell. According to police, some communication
between the cells was done through cellphone SIM cards procured in
"This is one of the most severe and dangerous security plots we´ve
had here. The intelligence provided by the police´s northern border
unit was of extremely high quality," a district police officer told
Israel Radio on Wednesday.
Police said that Hezbollah used an existing drug smuggling network of
Israeli Arabs to bring 24 ready-to-use bombs from Lebanon into
Israel. Some of the smugglers were not aware that they were
transporting explosives, whilst others did know, police added.
According to the Northern District´s Spokesperson´s Office, "Over the
past year, Hezbollah has been greatly motivated to carry out
terrorist attacks against Israelis and Jews. Hezbollah has worked to
gather intelligence information to carry out a significant terrorist
attack. In order to achieve their set goal of carrying out a high-
profile, effective attack inside Israel, Hezbollah smuggled in large
bombs, including operating systems and timers."
In a press conference, a Shin Bet official said that the agency
decided to swoop in on the cell after the bombs were moved from the
northern border town of Ghajar to Nazareth. It remains unclear who
the eventual recipients of the explosives are, and there is
speculation from security experts that since the bombs did not reach
their intended handlers, there is a strong possibility that a
Hezbollah sleeper cell is still active in Israel. The Shin Bet told
reporters that it decided to act to take 20 kilograms of C4
explosives off the streets. Agency officials said that Hezbollah uses
tactics of crime organizations, making use of drug smuggling
networks. This is just the tip of the iceberg of Hezbollah terror
activity, the official said. Since Hezbollah has been deterred from
heating up the Lebanese border with Israel, it is trying to spread
terror abroad, such as the July attack against Israeli tourists in
Bulgaria, and inside Israel, the official said.
Israel Police´s Northern District and Central Investigations Unit
received an initial tip-off on the modus operandi of the cell, and
then passed on the information to the Shin Bet.
Northern District Police Commander Maj. Gen. Roni Atia said following
the arrests: "Uncovering the cell prevented horrible attacks. In
these days, in which the complex security situation affects us at
home and abroad, the Israeli public has an opportunity to see up
close the methodical and collaborative work that is done by all of
Israel´s security agencies to thwart, prevent and enforce the law
against those who wish to harm us both at home and abroad."
Atia said it was not the first time Israeli Arabs from Nazareth have
been implicated in terrorism, adding that the village of Ghajar is
Israel´s weak spot in the north. The majority of Israeli Arabs have
absolutely no interest in collaborating with Hezbollah, and the
collaborators are a small minority, a Shin Bet official said. The
fact that Hezbollah has to make use of drug smuggling networks is a
sign of its weakness, the official added.