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Israel charges seven with plotting Hizballah attacks

The seven suspects are from the occupied Golan Heights [AFP]

Date of publication: 7 October, 2016

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Israel has charged seven residents of a village in the occupied Golan Heights of spying for Lebanon's Shia militant group Hizballah, police said Thursday.

Israel has charged seven residents of a village in the occupied Golan Heights of spying for Lebanon's Shia militant group Hizballah, police said Thursday.

The seven suspects were arrested last month after a bag containing explosive devices was discovered near the town of Metulla in northern Israel, police said.

They were accused of spying for Hizballah, contact with foreign agents and trafficking weapons and drugs, spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said.

Israel considers Hizballah and its ally Iran the country's main enemies and deems the Lebanese group a terrorist organisation.

Israeli public radio said a Hizballah member had allegedly ordered the suspects to carry out bomb attacks in the northern Israeli city of Haifa.

In January, Israeli security forces claimed to have broken up a "Hizballah terrorist cell" based in Tulkarm in the northern West Bank, allegedly set up by Jawad Nasrallah, son of the group's leader Hassan Nasrallah.

The Shin Bet, Israel's main internal security agency, said five Palestinians were in custody on suspicion of joining a Hizballah cell, saying they were close to carrying out attacks.

Mahmoud Zaalul, a 32-year-old resident of Tulkarm and one of the five, was recruited via social media by Jawad Nasrallah himself, the Shin Bet further claimed.

Jawad Nasrallah is a self-described poet and author. He is the eldest of Nasrallah's two surviving sons, and believed to have fought in southern Lebanon in the last conflict with Israel, in 2006.

Nasrallah's son Hadi was killed in battles with Israel in 1997.

The cell was allegedly instructed to use encrypted communications to receive instructions on how to carry out suicide bombings, assemble bomb vests, gather intelligence, and set up training camps, according to the Shin Bet.

Additionally, members of the cell were ordered to gather intelligence on security personnel operating in the area.

The cell members allegedly asked Hizballah for assistance in getting weapons and funds to carry out attacks.

"Hizballah sent $5,000 from abroad to advance the terrorist plot," the Shin Bet said.

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