Cell seeks to avenge assassination of Imad Mughniyeh; attack could target Israelis in immediate future, security sources warn.
Hezbollah is planning a terrorist attack against Israelis abroad within days, security sources warned on Thursday night.
The warning of the imminent attack did not mention specific locations. It was issued as many Israelis were abroad for the weeklong Pessah holiday.
Security is being stepped up at potential Jewish and Israeli targets overseas, the sources said.
They named Hezbollah operative Talal Hamia as the commander of a small but well-organized overseas unit that had been tasked by the Lebanese terrorist organization with carrying out the attack.
Hamia is alleged to have been involved in the 1992 and 1994 bombings in Buenos Aires that targeted the Israeli Embassy and the main Jewish community building.
Hezbollah has been seeking to avenge the assassination of its field commander, Imad Mughniyeh, in Damascus in 2008.
Ever since Mughniyeh was killed, Hezbollah has repeatedly vowed revenge and has reportedly tried to carry out revenge attacks several times. The group’s plans to stage powerful and painful attacks have been thwarted by security services worldwide, including in Azerbaijan, Thailand and Sinai in 2008, and in Turkey in 2009, according to foreign reports.
Hamia has replaced Mughniyeh as field commander since the assassination, and answers directly to Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah, as well as to Gen. Kassem Suleimani, commander of the al-Quds Division of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, which assists in the organization of terrorism outside the Islamic Republic’s borders.
Channel 10 reported that Hamia was working closely with his right-hand man and bodyguard, Ahmed Faid.
Hezbollah’s operational command structure is overseeing the group’s technical department, led by explosives engineer Ali Najam al-Din and bomb assembly expert Malik Ovayad, who reportedly prepared the device used in the 1992 bombing of the embassy in Argentina. Ovayad uses the alias of an air conditioner repairman.
Majd al-Zakur, known as “the forger,” is responsible for preparing fake passports used by terrorist cell members, security sources said.
The cell is aided by businessmen, among them a Lebanese cellphone salesman and a Turkish national.
Failed plots have been reported in the past in Jordan, Egypt, Azerbaijan, Thailand and Sinai. In 2009, two Hezbollah members and four Azeri collaborators were accused of plotting a multiple car bomb attack on Israel’s Embassy in Baku.
In February, the Counter-Terrorism Bureau warned against traveling to Egypt, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Armenia, the Ivory Coast, Mali, Mauritania and Venezuela.
The advisory warned against traveling to these locations and to refrain from being in places with large groups of Israelis.