(New York, N.Y.) — This week, Israel’s domestic security agency, the Shin Bet, announced indictments against two West Bank Palestinians allegedly recruited by agents of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) through Hezbollah to plan and carry out terror attacks on Israeli targets. Israeli officials suspect that the defendants, Yusuf Mansour and Maarsil Mansour, had agreed to transport weapons and military equipment, gather intelligence on the Israeli military, and recruit others in the West Bank to carry out attacks.
Their alleged recruiters, Hudah Mahaneh and Haj Mahmed Radwan, presented themselves as members of Hezbollah and are documented to be operatives of the IRGC’s Quds Force, which is tasked with external operations and oversight of Iran-supported paramilitary groups. Hezbollah primarily relies on religious devotion and opposition to Israel as recruitment tools. According to Israeli authorities, Yusuf Mansour and Maarsil Mansour communicated with and received payments from members of Hezbollah via encryption software and a dedicated email address.
The arrests reveal a growing trend of Iran rallying its proxies, including Hezbollah, to launch attacks against Israel. Hezbollah is well known for its anti-U.S. and anti-Israel agenda. Since Israel’s evacuation from southern Lebanon in May 2000, Hezbollah has conducted numerous cross-border raids, including the July 12, 2006, attack that killed eight Israeli soldiers and sparked the Second Lebanon War. Since then, Hezbollah has amassed a stockpile of tens of thousands of missiles from Iran, launched missile and drone attacks against Israel, and worked to build a sophisticated tunnel system between Lebanon and Israel.
Despite the group’s 40-year track record of terrorism, the international community has failed to effectively address the threat of Hezbollah. While countries like the United States, United Kingdom, and Germany have designated Hezbollah as a terrorist organization, the European Union has designated only Hezbollah’s so-called armed faction, rather than Hezbollah as a whole. Hezbollah’s leaders freely acknowledge the unity between its political and terrorist wings under the leadership of Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah. And yet the European Union and several other nations continue to artificially divide the group, allowing Hezbollah to continue carrying out its extremist agenda.
To read the Counter Extremism Project (CEP) resource Hezbollah, please click here.
To read the CEP resource Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), please click here.
To read the CEP resource Lebanon: Extremism and Terrorism, please click here.