JERUSALEM (JTA) — A Hezbollah-funded Palestinian terrorist cell from the West Bank city of Tulkarm was arrested for planning an attack in Israel.
Charges were filed against five Palestinian men from the Tulkarm area, the Shin Bet security service said in a statement on Wednesday. The men were captured in a joint operation by the Shin Bet and the Israel Defense Forces.
According to the Shin Bet, the head of the cell, Mahmoud Zaalul, was recruited through online social networks by Jawad Nasrallah, the son of Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah. The Lebanon-based Hezbollah transferred $5,000 to the cell in part to purchase weapons.
The cell was tasked with opening an email account in order to receive orders from Hezbollah. Hezbollah then ordered the cell to recruit suicide bombers, as well as monitor Israeli security services operating in the area, according to the Shin Bet.
The arrested men range in age from 18 to 28.
They were accused in a West Bank IDF court of belonging to an illegal organization, contact with an enemy, bringing in funds from an enemy, conspiracy to commit a lethal crime, sale of war materials, conspiracy to commit a shooting and interfering with legal proceedings.
“Hezbollah is trying to ride the wave of terror that has taken over recently in Israel and is working diligently to stir trouble in the area by seducing young people into carrying out attacks as ordered in return for money,” Shin Bet said in a statement.