Israeli security arrests Swede at airport on charges of spying for Hezbollah
Israeli border police stand guard at Ben-Gurion Airport near Tel Aviv. (AFP/File)
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Security forces arrested a Swedish-Lebanese suspect at Ben-Gurion Airport on July 21, on suspicion of landing in Israel to gather intelligence on sensitive targets on behalf of Hezbollah, the Shin Bet domestic intelligence agency announced on Sunday.
The suspect, Hassan Khalil Hizran, 55, was taken into custody after the Shin Bet received prior intelligence about him, suggesting that he has ties to Hezbollah.
"During questioning by the Shin Bet, Hizran confessed," the agency said, adding that the suspect provided an account of how he was recruited by the Hezbollah and subsequent cooperation with the Lebanese Shiite organization.
In 2009, according to Hizran's testimony, he traveled with his wife and children to Lebanon, during which time, he received an offer to meet with Hezbollah operatives, and Hizran agreed, the Shin Bet said.
During secret meetings with Hezbollah members, Hizran was told that the Lebanese organization is seeking to recruit Palestinians living in Europe who hold foreign passports, and send them to Israel to gather intelligence for Hezbollah.
In 2011 and 2013, he traveled to Lebanon again, meeting each time with Hezbollah, according to the Shin Bet.
During these visits, Hizran allegedly began receiving missions, which included recruiting Israeli citizens, particularly those with ties to Jews or to Israeli military personnel, or with links to Israeli government officials.
"Additionally, he was asked to gather information on locations in Israel where there are concentrations of military forces, weapons, tanks, and military bases," the Shin Bet added.
Hizran also allegedly received orders to investigate how Israeli security at Ben-Gurion Airport operates, including the reception of passengers, security arrangements, and passport control procedures.
In 2009, Hizran allegedly received $2,300 for his meetings with Hezbollah, and an additional $800 in 2011.
Hizran also passed on information to the Shin Bet about an association in the Swedish city of Malmo, called the Lebanese House, whose members are Shiites that carry out social and cultural work among their communities. "They hold Hezbollah-related days, watch speeches by Hezbollah head Hassan Nasrallah, and more," the Shin Bet said.
Central District prosecutors charged Hizran at the Central District Court with passing on information, contact with a foreign agent, and forbidden actions with terrorist property Swedish authorities have been updated by Israel about the investigation.
"Hizran's activities prove the attractiveness for Hezbollah in activating foreign citizens who have access to Lebanon and Israel, out of an assumption that they can travel in Israel freely," the Shin Bet stated.
By Yaakov Lappin
This story has been edited from the source material.