February 22, 2013
Hezbollah operative tracked Israeli plane landings in Cyprus
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 on Thursday said in court that he recorded landing times for Arkia flights between Tel Aviv and Larnaca, the New York Times reported.
Yaacoub, who has a Lebanese and a Swedish passport, had earlier in the week acknowledged membership in Hezbollah and staking out areas frequented by Israeli tourists.
On Thursday, he said he relayed the landing times to his Hezbollah handler.
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.
"The United States of America and other countries have already included Hezbollah in its list of terrorist organizations," Peres said Feb. 21 at a memorial service for Joseph Trumpeldor, a pre-state fighter who fell in battle 93 years ago. "Now, after it has been proved that Hezbollah was behind the terror attack in Bulgaria, on European soil, and murdered innocent civilians, and as reports increase of its involvement, along with Iran, in attacks in Cyprus and Nigeria, the time has come for every country in the world, and especially the European Union, to add Hezbollah to its list of terror organizations."
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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