Two Palestinians arrested in Israel for 'working with Hezbollah': Shin Bet

Two Palestinians arrested in Israel for 'working with Hezbollah': Shin Bet
Shin Bet have announced the arrest of two Palestinians in Israel suspected of setting up 'Hezbollah cell' in northern Israel.
2 min read
20 March, 2022
Israeli forces patrol the heavily fortified border with Lebanon [Getty]

Two Palestinian-Israelis from Galilee have been arrested on suspicion of working with Lebanon's Hezbollah in northern Israel, Israeli intelligence agency Shin Bet said in a statement on Sunday.

Fifty-five-year-old Sultan Atallah from the Druze village of Yarka, and 33-year-old Rami Shami of Jadida in northern Galilee were apprehended in a joint operation between Shin Bet, Israeli police and Israeli forces in February, the statement said.

Shin Bet alleged that Hezbollah operatives cultivated the pair during several meetings in Turkey, where discussions were held about weapons smuggling, abducting Israeli citizens and weak points in the Israel-Lebanon border.

During the arrests, Shin Bet say they seized several weapons, including a MP5 submachine gun and stores of drugs from the pair - who reportedly have prior smuggling convictions. 

It is not clear how the intelligence leading to their arrest was obtained. 

Security officials alleged that during interrogations, the suspects revealed information which suggested Iranian intelligence services have been using Hezbollah to recruit field operatives with links to the Israeli drugs trade.

According to a separate police statement, the pair were also accused of approaching other Yarka residents to help them locate suitable border crossing points and assist with smuggling operations.

Since January, confrontations between Israeli forces and Hezbollah have increased drone activity on the Lebanese-Israeli border, while the Israeli air force reportedly struck Hezbollah sites inside Syria, where the Iran-backed group has a significant presence. 

In late 2021, Israel accused Hezbollah of “trying to flood Israel with weapons” in preparation for a “future conflict” with Palestinian citizens.