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Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Kidnappings of Israeli businessmen foiled

Depending on which report you believe, Israel's defense establishment, in cooperation with foreign intelligence agencies, has foiled either two or five attempted kidnappings of Israeli businessman by Hezbullah overseas in recent weeks. Defense Minister Ehud Barak has confirmed at least two such instances.
Details are sketchy on the matter, and Israel's military censor banned publication of some of them. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because no official statement had been made.

Channel 2 TV said Hezbollah has cells in West Africa and South America.

The officials said the kidnap plots were stopped at advanced stages. On Aug. 20 Israel put out an unusual travel advisory, warning that Hezbollah was planning to kidnap Israelis abroad.

Last month, new intelligence on Hezbollah's intentions to abduct Israelis abroad prompted the government's counterterrorism unit to issue a warning to travelers, who were advised to take special precautions.

In its warning, the Prime Minister's Office Counterterrorism Bureau explained that intelligence reports suggested Hezbollah is planning abductions as revenge for the assassination of Imad Mughniyeh, the militia's operations chief, who was killed in a Damascus car bombing in February. Israel has denied any involvement in the bombing.


According to people within the intelligence community, Israel does possess specific information regarding the location where Hezbollah plans to attack. But the Counterterrorism Bureau's warning says it applies to all countries.
YNet reports that this is not only about West Africa and South America.
A senior security source told the paper that "this was a concentrated effort by Hizbullah, backed by Iran, to carry out kidnappings in retaliation for the assassination of top Hizbullah operative Imad Mugniyah. "Hizbullah," he said, "is scouring for prey, and it's going country by county."

Israel has reportedly been able to intercept such attempts in Europe, West Africa, the US, South America and Asia, where Hizbullah relies on local Shiite communities for assistance.

All the attempted were foiled with the assistance of foreign intelligence agencies, who are acutely aware of Hizbullah and Iran's declared vendetta.

The defense establishment has apparently cautioned several prominent businessmen, who travel extensively, of such attempts.

"We're working under the assumption that there may be an attempt to kidnap them, but there very well may be an attempt on their lives. We're monitoring this situation very closely," said the security source.

"Several businessmen owe their lives and their freedom to this emergency operation; which was largely facilitated thanks to the cooperation we received from various foreign intelligence agencies."

The American media reported recently of several attempts made by Hizbullah sleeper-cells in the US to target Jewish institutions in the US and Canada. The Foreign Ministry and the Shin Bet have also recalled several Israeli emissaries from countries deemed to have a volatile security situation.
I'm so glad I'm not a 'prominent' businessman. Just an unknown one.

And for those who have forgotten the history of terror attacks against Israelis in Africa, JPost adds:
Israelis have been targeted in Africa before. In 2002, suicide bombers killed 13 people and injured more than 80 in an attack on the Paradise Hotel, a popular Israeli vacation spot, in Mombassa, Kenya. At the same time, two shoulder-fired missiles were launched at an Israeli charter jet that had taken off from a nearby airport. The missiles missed their target.
And so, my fellow Israelis, avoid groups of Israelis and avoid speaking Hebrew in public. When you travel abroad, try to get away from here. It will keep you safer.


At 5:17 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Perhaps Israel should consider GPS implants. (not joking)

At 10:05 PM, Blogger Shawarma said...

Speculating here, but wouldn't this current situation have anything to do with the kidnapped Israeli at Nigeria (which was silenced), and the article at LATimes warning about Venezuela's ties with Iran? It seems something big HAS happened and it is not reported.

At 10:36 PM, Blogger What is "Occupation" said...

dont forget Israeli help with Columbia and FARC

At 11:07 PM, Blogger Shawarma said...

Correcting my self - the Israeli business man was released in Nigeria - clearly if that had anything to do Hezbollah he would not have been released....

At 8:19 AM, Blogger Carl in Jerusalem said...


Everyone here would expect the government to pay for them. That could get quite expensive.

At 9:46 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

A reminder Hezbollah has a global reach. It can export terror abroad, not just through Lebanon.


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