Six Arab Israeli citizens were indicted Thursday for smuggling explosives from Lebanon into Israel in cooperation with the Iran-back terror group Hezbollah in a plot to plant bombs in the Haifa area, the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) said.
The Tower reports that Diab Kahamuz, the alleged ringleader, was caught after he apparently forgot where he hid the explosives he received from Hezbollah. The explosives were found by an Israeli farmer, who called the police on July 30. An investigation led to the arrests of Kahamuz, his brothers Yussuf and Jamil, a cousin, and two other Ghajar residents in September, though the case remained under a gag order until indictments were filed.
Diab Kahamuz was charged with aiding the enemy in wartime, espionage, contact with a foreign agent, giving information to the enemy, conspiring to aid the enemy in wartime, weapons offenses, attempt to import weapons, and conspiring to commit a crime.
The plot emerged from communications Kahamuz allegedly received via encrypted emails from his father Saeb, a drug smuggler who fled to Lebanon ten years ago and instructed his son to use his smuggling routes to import explosives to carry out a terror attack in the Haifa area. Diab retrieved a cache of explosives that was thrown over the border fence in May. He hid the explosives in a grove near the northern Israeli city of Metulla. Explosives experts who examined the devices determined that they were powerful and had been constructed by Hezbollah.
Saeb Kahamuz instructed his son to scout locations in Haifa to target, but Diab found security in the city to be too tight, with too many cameras, so he adjusted his search for possible attack locations. “While he was driving through the Tur’an Junction, the defendant noticed a bus stop filled with many soldiers,” his indictment alleged. Diab thought this was a suitable target “as it would allow harming many soldiers—and took photos of the place with his Samsung (cellphone).” Jamil then sent photographs of the location to his Hezbollah handlers.
Authorities said after the arrest that the suspects’ computers and phones contained photographs of potential targets, including military bases.
“Hezbollah and other terror organizations are making great efforts to carry out attacks inside the State of Israel, while working to recruit collaborators from among the citizens of the state,” the police said in a statement. “A quick and thorough investigation into several lines of inquiry has led to the arrest of all of the members of the terror cell and prevented a mass-casualty terror bombing.”
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