Asharq Al-awsat English Middle-east and International News and Opinion from Asharq Al-awsat Newspaper

Israeli PM Applauds Thwarting of Arms Smuggling from South Lebanon, Vows to Respond

Israeli PM Applauds Thwarting of Arms Smuggling from South Lebanon, Vows to Respond

Wednesday, 27 April, 2022 - 11:00
Israeli soldiers near the northern border with Lebanon. (Reuters)

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett lauded the Israeli police and army for their “success in thwarting a smuggling operation on the border with Lebanon.”

“We thwarted an unusual arms smuggling operation on the Lebanese border… 100 hand grenades were seized, which were intended to be used to carry out (terrorist) operations... We seized all of them,” Bennett said in a statement.

“We will continue to work until we eradicate the rampant criminal act in Arab society,” he added.

The Israeli army threatened to respond to the operation, noting that Israel would confront “any attempt to violate its sovereignty” on the border with Lebanon.

Army spokesman Avichay Adraee, said that the military monitored on Sunday evening suspects approaching the security fence from Lebanon towards Israeli territory. Security forces, who monitored the area, detected two pieces of weapons and about one hundred hand grenades, he noted.

Israeli media quoted Defense Minister Benny Gantz as saying: “The State of Israel demands the Lebanese government to assume responsibility for what is happening on its territory.”

“If terrorism and violence continue, we will know how to use the necessary force against the right targets,” he threatened.

Israeli authorities published a report on a network of weapons and drugs smuggling from southern Lebanon to Palestinian collaborators inside Israel, claiming that it operates with the knowledge of Hezbollah and the participation of some of its leading members.

The report revealed that the army and border guards thwarted on Sunday the smuggling of a large quantity of weapons of 100 grenades and two rifles.

The army said the operation was one of a series of smuggling attempts, which it claimed to have foiled recently. It added that since the beginning of 2022, security forces have seized 148 pistols, 23 automatic rifles and other weapons and drugs, worth millions of dollars.

The army added that it found “multiple evidence” of the involvement of Hezbollah, which operates through Israeli criminals, to bring weapons into Israeli territory.

Adraee revealed that Hatem Sheet, a resident of Kfarkela, a town along the Israeli border near Metula, ran drug and weapons smuggling operations from his home for Hezbollah.

According to the Israeli army spokesman, Sheet coordinates smuggling operations with Israeli smugglers through a number of applications, including Telegram.

The report went on to say that the smuggler carried out surveillance work from the balcony of his home in order to gather information about the operations and movement of Israeli forces in the area.

Sheet had a number of operatives who he sends to throw the drugs or weapons over the border fence. The man purportedly uses his balcony to serve as a lookout, in order to guide Israeli smugglers to the location of the contraband and help them avoid Israeli forces, according to the report.

Another smuggler was identified as Hassan Sareini, nicknamed Abu Muhammad. He is said to be an assistant to the prominent Hezbollah official, Hajj Khalil Harb, who manages smuggling operations.

Sareini reportedly works with Sheet and other smugglers in southern Lebanon in order to smuggle weapons and drugs into Israel, according to the army spokesman.

Editor Picks