(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Office)

An IDF force and the ISA, operating in Nablus on 25 February 2005, on the basis of intelligence information, arrested a cell composed of residents of the city, who are suspected of having been recruited into Hizbullah.  Among the detainees are:

  • Wassam Badoui Salah Nasser, 21, a student at An-Najah University;
  • Mouad Rateb Haj-Muhammad Aslim, 21, employed as an upholsterer and barber; and
  • Raad Aouni Hasni Bader, 21, a student at An-Najah University.

From the investigation of Wassam Nasser, it was learned that during a family visit to Lebanon, he was recruited into Hizbullah, with the aid of local relatives. He underwent military training that included small arms fire and various methods of espionage. He was trained how to collect information ahead of an attack on a senior VIP.  Among his missions were the photographing of military checkpoints and bases, and settlements. He took a great many photographs, which he sent – via the Internet – to his handlers in Lebanon. He was equipped with a GPS device, hidden in a tape player on the dashboard of his car. He was requested to pinpoint the location of military bases and checkpoints in the Nablus area; he also sent this information – via the Internet – to his handlers in Lebanon.

Mouad Aslim admitted that after Wassam Nasser revealed to him that he had been recruited into Hizbullah and that they had transferred the cell members’ details to Hizbullah handlers in Lebanon, who began to financially assist the cell’s activities. Mouad admitted that he was in on bomb attacks in the Nablus area even before affiliating with Hizbullah.

Raad Bader admitted that Wassam Nasser had revealed to him that he had been recruited into Hizbullah and that he had asked him to aid in the collection of intelligence information.  He was aware of Wassam’s GPS device, the financial assistance from Hizbullah and the aforementioned Internet connection.

The cell’s activities continued during the recent period of calm.

The phenomenon of recruiting Palestinians into Hizbullah while they are on family visits to Lebanon in order to establish local cells to perpetrate terrorist attacks Israeli civilian and military targets in both Judea and Samaria, and inside Israel, is becoming increasingly widespread.