In Brief: Hezbollah smuggling weapons to Israel to ferment civil unrest

Hezbollah fighters at a ceremony > Ali Khamenei, CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Lebanese terror group Hezbollah is reportedly trying to smuggle weapons into Israel to ferment unrest within the Israeli-Arab community, a police official has said.

Israeli police have seen a significant increase in efforts to smuggle weapons into the country via the Lebanese and Jordanian borders since the May conflict with Hamas.

As well as cross-border conflict, May saw the most serious clashes in decades between Jewish and Arab communities in Israel itself.

Smuggling has increased dramatically, with an accompanying increase in the quality of weapons being sent, in what police described as a “strategic threat” to Israel.

Police have said that the intended destination for the weapons is organised crime groups in the Israeli-Arab community, where they may also become available for use in further civil strife.

Chief superintendent of the northern district police, Yaron Ben-Yishi, told Israeli media that 95 percent of the smuggling from Lebanon is directed by Hezbollah, which receives backing from Iran.

Whereas Hezbollah had previously focused on drug smuggling, Ben-Yishi said, the group had now switched to weapons smuggling in advance of an expected “doomsday” scenario.

Organised crime is a major problem in Israeli-Arab society, with at least 111 people killed in suspected homicides since the start of 2021.

In October, Israel’s coalition government announced $750m to fight the wave of organised crime affecting Israeli-Arabs.