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Israeli security forces seize large stash of grenades smuggled from Lebanon amid increased terror alerts on northern border

“The suspicion is that they were intended to be used to carry out terrorist attacks,” declared the Israeli Police

Grenades and rifles seized by Israeli security forces in a smuggling attempt from Lebanon, Apr. 26, 2022. (Photo: Israel Police)

Israeli forces prevented an attempt to smuggle 100 grenades and two rifles from Lebanon into the Jewish state on Monday night amid fears that the weapons were linked to a potential terror plot. The successful operation involved cooperation between the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and the Israeli police on the Lebanese border.

The weapons cache was discovered inside a bag that was left by two suspects on the Lebanese-Israeli border. Israeli authorities are currently investigating if the weapons smuggling attempt was organized by the Iranian-backed terrorist organization Hezbollah in Lebanon.

“The fact that fragmentation grenades were seized, an unusual weapon that has not yet been seized, raises the suspicion that they were intended to carry out attacks against crowded civilian places,” read an official statement by the Israeli authorities. The Israeli Police confirmed the suspicion, stating that the weapons “were intended to be used to carry out terrorist attacks.”

The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit stressed their commitment to prevent future smuggling attempts into Israel.

“The IDF and the Israel Police will continue to act against any attempt to violate sovereignty [and against] terrorism, smuggling and criminal activity on the Lebanese border,” declared the IDF.

Weapons smuggling occurs on all of Israel's border, not just from Lebanon. For example, Israeli security forces recently arrested a Palestinian from Jericho who was carrying 24 handguns and $1.1 million in Jordanian dinars.

Following the violent clashes between some Arabs and Jews in Israel in May 2021, Israeli authorities noted that Hezbollah has increased its efforts to smuggle weapons to radicalized Israeli Arabs ahead of future clashes.

In November 2021, Israeli authorities announced that it noticed a “significant increase” in attempts by Hezbollah to smuggle weapons to Arab Israelis from Lebanese and Jordanian territories. While much of the smuggled weapons were earmarked for “crime organizations in the Arab community” in Israel, there was also a tacit understanding that the weapons were also intended for terror attacks in a future “surge in violence between Jews and Arabs”.

At least nine attempts to smuggle weapons and drugs from Lebanon into Israel – as well as two additional attempts from Syria – were reportedly thwarted in 2021, according to IDF data. Last year’s smuggled caches included some 75 weapons and 120 kilograms of drugs.

In March 2022, two Arab Israelis living in northern Israel were arrested for smuggling weapons and planning terrorist attacks inside the Jewish state on behalf of Hezbollah. The two suspects were reportedly asked to carry out a kidnapping and to assist in identifying sensitive targets for Hezbollah’s vast missile arsenal in a future war between the two sides. A Lebanese drug smuggler in Turkey had allegedly served as an intermediary in the communication between Hezbollah and the two Arab Israeli men.

At the time, an unnamed senior official in Israel’s Security Agency stressed the severity of the incident.

“This affair illustrates the efforts of Iranian and other terror elements to exploit the Arab and Druze citizens of Israel,” said the official.

“Citizens who receive inquiries from terror elements are called upon to report this to authorities and to avoid a situation in which they find themselves involved in serious security activities,” added the official.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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