BriefIsraeli army uncovers new Hezbollah cell in Golan

  • BriefIsraeli army uncovers new Hezbollah cell in Golan

BriefIsraeli army uncovers new Hezbollah cell in Golan

Israel's army said Wednesday it has uncovered a unit created by Hezbollah across the ceasefire line in the Syrian Golan Heights and led by a commander previously jailed over an attack on United States forces.

"The Hezbollah terrorist organization has begun an attempt to establish and entrench a covert force in the Syrian Golan Heights that is created to act against Israel when given the order", said the IDF on Tuesday.

"Hezbollah is a terror organization". "It does Iran's bidding, and this terror network is part of Iran's aggression against Israel".

Iran and Hezbollah - the Lebanon-based Shi'a proxy of the Tehran regime - have both deployed forces in Syria in recent years to bolster their ally, the Assad regime, in the civil war there.

Israel said the new unit had been established without Assad's knowledge, and some Israeli media reported that part of the aim in publicising it was in hopes Syria and Russian Federation would move to stop it.

In December, the IDF launched Operation Northern Shield, a weeks-long project that uncovered and destroyed Hezbollah tunnels dug from Lebanon into Isrsael in other to carry out attacks on the local population.

Military action against Hezbollah could lead to a retaliation by the terror group or its Iranian patron, but IDF officials said the army was prepared to risk such a conflict in order to avoid the larger threat posed by the cell.

The new effort was largely a continuation of plans to establish Hezbollah infrastructure starting in 2013.

It said it is led by Hezbollah commander Ali Musa Daqduq. But Iraq's government released him after he was acquitted in an Iraqi criminal court.

Some have had training in sabotage, sharpshooting and firing Grad rockets, it said in a statement. Israel typically refrains from commenting on its military activities against Iran in Syria, preferring instead to act quietly behind the scenes.

Netanyahu travels to Washington later this month to address the pro-Israeli lobby AIPAC, and Israeli media reports said he also plans to hold talks with Trump, with the Golan recognition issue on the agenda.

Foreign Minister Israel Katz dismissed such suggestions.

On Monday, Republican U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham toured the Golan with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and pledged to lobby the Trump administration to recognize the area as belonging to Israel.

The text in the separate section on the "West Bank and Gaza Strip" - territory captured by Israel during the 1967 Six Day War along with the Golan Heights - also did not refer to those regions as "occupied", or being "under occupation".