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‘Hezbollah attempted to recruit Arab Israelis as spies’

Members of Hezbollah's armed wing stand to attention as hundreds of people gather to watch a televised speech by Hassan Nasrallah on February 22, 2008, in Beirut, Lebanon. [JOSEPH BARRAK/AFP via Getty Images]
Members of Hezbollah's armed wing stand to attention as hundreds of people gather to watch a televised speech by Hassan Nasrallah on February 22, 2008, in Beirut, Lebanon. [JOSEPH BARRAK/AFP via Getty Images]

Israel’s domestic security service, Shin Bet, revealed yesterday that it has arrested two Israeli citizens in Majd Al-Krum accused of spying for the Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah. The suspects, both women, were arrested on 6 June having been under investigation following a meeting last year in Turkey with a Lebanon-based journalist, Beirut Hamud, who is also a native of the northern Israel town.

Hamud was herself interrogated by Shin Bet back in 2013 on suspicion of contacting Hezbollah activists during a conference in Morocco in 2008. She later moved to Lebanon where she married Lebanese journalist Bilal Bizari. Both work for Al-Akhbar newspaper, which is affiliated with Hezbollah.

Hamud and Bizari are both accused of attempting to recruit the two Arab-Israeli women as spies. According to the Jerusalem Post, the suspects were both released conditionally following the initial investigation.

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Shin Bet also reportedly called Bizari in Lebanon informing him that they were aware that he was recruiting for Hezbollah and that he should stop trying to recruit Israeli citizens. Part of a recording of the phone call was made public.

“Send greetings to your commander in Hezbollah… in the near future there will be a few surprises for him from us,” a Shin Bet agent can be heard saying.

“We will continue to work resolutely to monitor and thwart any espionage or terrorist activities by Hezbollah,” stressed the security agency. It described the “exploitation of Israeli citizenship to aid terrorist and espionage activities” as a “very serious” issue.

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