TEL AVIV — The Iran-backed Hezbollah terror group is attempting to recruit Israeli citizens as operatives, the Shin Bet security agency revealed Tuesday, following the arrest of two Arab Israeli women earlier this month who were recruited by a Lebanon-based operative to carry out terror activities.
The operative, journalist Beirut Hamud who writes for the Hezbollah-linked Al-Akhbar newspaper, originates from the northern Israeli town of Majd al-Krum but now lives in Lebanon with her Lebanese husband Bilal Bizari.
Hamud contacted two women from her former town and met them in Turkey in December where she tried to recruit them to the terror organization.
“During the investigation the contact between the two and Beirut was confirmed, as well as information about the meeting in Turkey and the way in which Hezbollah worked through Beirut and her husband to enlist additional Israelis for Hezbollah operations,” a Shin Bet statement said.
The two Arab Israeli women were arrested on May 2 and have since been released under restrictive conditions.
The Shin Bet further said it warned Bizari in Lebanon it was aware of his and his wife’s activities and their press credentials would not help them.
The Ynet news site said Bizari responded to the Shin Bet operative’s warning, taunting him, “you’re too scared [to do anything], you live in a fantasy world.” The Shin Bet operative told Bizari to deliver a message to his Hezbollah commander warning him Israel has a “number of surprises in store for them.”
In the statement, the Shin Bet said it would continue to “work tirelessly to monitor and thwart any espionage or terror activities by Hezbollah” and underlined the “gravity with which it views the exploitation of Israeli citizenship in the aid of terrorist and espionage activities.”