The IDF announced Wednesday it discovered a new Hezbollah cell just over the border in the Syrian-controlled portion of the Golan Heights.
By World Israel News Staff
According to IDF intelligence, Hezbollah is marshaling a terror cell just across the Israeli border in a Druze village in Syria called Khader. Statements issued by the IDF maintain that the Hezbollah operatives set up the cell and its infrastructure behind the back of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
In a video posted to Twitter, Israeli officer Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus said that the cell is “masterminded by Hezbollah” but staffed by Syrians, using “local civilian infrastructure as observation points, collecting intelligence against Israeli targets.”
“The main guy behind [the terror cell] is a known terrorist named Ali Musa Daqduq,” he said.
The officer explained that Daqduq was “responsible for the abduction and execution of five American servicemen” in 2007 in Iraq, where he was imprisoned but was later released in a prisoner swap and returned to Lebanon and Syria.
Daqduq is a wanted man in the United States for these attacks and was described by the U.S. Treasury Department as “commander of a Hezbollah special forces unit and chief of a protective detail for Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah.”
Lt. Col. Conricus also addressed the terror group and its leaders directly, warning, “We’re not going to allow Hezbollah to establish a terror infrastructure [in] the Golan capable of striking Israeli civilians.”
He also declared that Israel holds the Syrian regime responsible for any hostilities emanating from its territory, demanding that the Assad regime adhere to the 1974 agreement that officially ended the Yom Kippur War and was supposed to shut down the Syrian front.
What do Lebanon, Iraq, Iran, and Syria have in common? pic.twitter.com/G8lJWy5AD7
— Israel Defense Forces (@IDF) March 13, 2019
The IDF issued a separate statement explaining that as the Syrian civil war winds down, Hezbollah, which assisted Assad in his brutal pursuit of rebel factions, may see its role diminished in Syria, and thus seeks to secretly establish cells such as the one in Khader.
“In this way, the [terror cell’s] leadership can act in secrecy in the region without fear of [intrusion by Assad’s] regime,” the statement explained.
The IDF also identified an individual named Abu Hussein Sajid as a leader of Hezbollah’s operations on Israel’s border, indicating that he directs the cell’s movements from Beirut.
Currently, the cell’s primary activities consist of intelligence collection, surveillance, and recruiting operatives, but it is armed with antitank missiles, explosives, and machine guns, according to the IDF, and may try to smuggle rockets and missiles into the area.
This effort is not the first time Hezbollah has attempted to initiate a front on the Syria side of the Golan Heights. In 2015, Israel reportedly struck the area eliminating senior terrorist leader Jihad Mughniyeh.
According to the IDF, the cell exposed on Wednesday appears to be a continuation of the aborted effort led by Mughniyeh.
The IDF’s release of information about the Khader cell follows a report in Syrian state media last week that the IDF fired a shell at the village in what appeared to be an unprovoked attack.