Hezbollah operative tracked Israeli plane landings in Cyprus


(JTA) — The Hezbollah operative on trial for plotting against Israeli tourists in Cyprus acknowledged passing on Israeli aircraft landing times to his terrorist handlers.

Hosem Taleb Yaacoub said Thursday in court that he recorded landing times for Arkia flights between Tel Aviv and Larnaca, The New York Times reported. He said he relayed the landing times to his Hezbollah handler.

Yaacoub, who has a Lebanese and a Swedish passport, earlier in the week had acknowledged membership in Hezbollah and staking out areas frequented by Israeli tourists.

Yaacoub continued to deny witting involvement in any plot to kill Israelis, saying he did not know how the information he gathered would be used.

Two weeks after Yaacoub’s arrest early last July, a suicide bomber killed five Israelis and a bus driver in Bulgaria, and earlier this month, Bulgaria implicated Hezbollah in the attack.

Yaacoub acknowledged receiving military training from Hezbollah. The trial comes as the United States and Israel are increasing pressure on the European Union to ban Hezbollah as a a terrorist organization, as both those nations do.

Earlier this week, Nigerian authorities arrested three men suspected of staking out U.S and Israeli targets on behalf of Iran. Hezbollah often acts as Iran’s surrogate.

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