Israeli Intelligence Threatens Commander of Imam Hussein Brigade in Syria

A photo from an account called Imam Hussein Brigade on Instagram (Asharq Al-Awsat)
A photo from an account called Imam Hussein Brigade on Instagram (Asharq Al-Awsat)
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Israeli Intelligence Threatens Commander of Imam Hussein Brigade in Syria

A photo from an account called Imam Hussein Brigade on Instagram (Asharq Al-Awsat)
A photo from an account called Imam Hussein Brigade on Instagram (Asharq Al-Awsat)

The Israeli army’s military intelligence sent warnings to the pro-Iran Imam Hussein Brigade - which is made up of sub-units operating in Syria - and accused the militias of recruiting thousands of soldiers to conduct strikes against Israel.

Israeli intelligence officers said that a unit comprising one thousand members was currently a source of concern for AMAN (the Military Intelligence Division of the Israeli Army), and was practically considered a branch of the Lebanese Hezbollah.

According to the officers, the unit owns Iranian-made drones and surface-to-surface and surface-to-air missiles, while its soldiers are well trained, have military patrols and fortified positions, and act like a small army.

The Israeli foreign intelligence service (Mossad) has begun investigating weapons smuggling operations through Syria and the Jordanian border to Palestinian armed organizations in the West Bank.

The Israeli Army Radio, Galei Tsahal, reported on Tuesday a significant increase in smuggling operations, in terms of quantity and types of weapons. The channel quoted a senior official in the Israeli security services as saying that the last few weeks witnessed the thwarting of two attempts to smuggle weapons across the Jordanian-Israeli border in the Jordan Valley region.

One of these operations was described as “large and exceptional,” and included powerful and sophisticated explosive devices. Israel is investigating the possibility of Iran’s involvement.

In earlier statements, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said that Israel “is aware of the increasing involvement of Iran and terrorist organizations in attempts to transfer weapons and knowledge (i.e. expertise related to weapons manufacturing) to the West Bank.”

Israeli army reports indicate that the Imam Hussein Brigade was carrying out hostile activity against Israel, including weapons smuggling. Particular focus was placed on the commander of this brigade, called Zulfiqar Hanawi, 42, a Lebanese affiliated with Hezbollah, who led a military division that was fighting in Aleppo in 2013.

According to the reports, Hanawi “works relentlessly to develop the capabilities of his forces and carry out bold operations against American forces, terrorist organizations, Israel, and even against opposition forces (in Syria). He is also involved in importing weapons from Iran and hiding them in Syria or Lebanon.”

Some AMAN officers describe him as the successor of IRGC Commander Qassem Soleimani, who was killed in a US operation near Baghdad airport at the beginning of 2021.



UN Human Rights Chief: Unconscionable Death and Suffering Happening in Gaza

A child looks on as Palestinians search for missing people under the rubble of a destroyed house following an Israeli air strike, at al-Nuseirat refugee camp, southern Gaza Strip, 18 June 2024. (EPA)
A child looks on as Palestinians search for missing people under the rubble of a destroyed house following an Israeli air strike, at al-Nuseirat refugee camp, southern Gaza Strip, 18 June 2024. (EPA)
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UN Human Rights Chief: Unconscionable Death and Suffering Happening in Gaza

A child looks on as Palestinians search for missing people under the rubble of a destroyed house following an Israeli air strike, at al-Nuseirat refugee camp, southern Gaza Strip, 18 June 2024. (EPA)
A child looks on as Palestinians search for missing people under the rubble of a destroyed house following an Israeli air strike, at al-Nuseirat refugee camp, southern Gaza Strip, 18 June 2024. (EPA)

Palestinians in the Israeli occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem are suffering a drastically worsening human rights environment, alongside "unconscionable death and suffering" in the Gaza Strip, the UN human rights chief said on Tuesday.

"The situation in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, is dramatically deteriorating," Volker Turk, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, told the opening session of the UN Human Rights Council.

The West Bank, where the internationally recognized Palestinian Authority exercises limited self-rule under Israeli occupation, has seen the worst unrest for decades, in parallel with the war in the Gaza Strip, which is controlled by Hamas.

Turk said that from the start of the Gaza war in October through mid-June, 528 Palestinians, 133 of them children, had been killed by Israeli security forces or settlers in the West Bank, in some cases raising "serious concerns of unlawful killings".

Twenty-three Israelis have been killed in the West Bank and Israel in clashes with or attacks by Palestinians, he said.

In Gaza, Turk said he was "appalled by the disregard for international human rights and humanitarian law" by parties to the war.

"Israel's relentless strikes in Gaza are causing immense suffering and widespread destruction, and the arbitrary denial and obstruction of humanitarian aid have continued," Turk said.

"Israel continues to detain arbitrarily thousands of Palestinians. This must not continue."

He added that Palestinian armed groups were continuing to hold hostages, including in populated areas, which put both the hostages and civilians at risk.

Israel's permanent mission to the UN in Geneva accused Turk of "completely omitting the cruelty and barbarity of terrorism" in his address to the UN Human Rights Council.

"Hostilities in Gaza are the direct result of Hamas terrorism, decades of rocket-fire and incitement against the Jewish people and the State of Israel, culminating in its brutal attacks against Israel on October 7," the diplomatic mission said in a statement.

Israel's ground and air campaign was triggered when Hamas-led fighters stormed into southern Israel on Oct. 7, killing around 1,200 people and seizing more than 250 hostages, according to Israeli tallies.

Israel's offensive has killed more than 37,400 people in Gaza, according to its health authorities, and left much of the enclave's population homeless.