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.