“[I]f they [the Jews] all gather in Israel, it will save us the trouble of going after them worldwide.” — Hasan Nasrallah, leader of Hizballah
“Cyprus bomb-plot suspect admits Hezbollah ties,” by Benjamin Weinthal for the Jerusalem Post, February 20 (thanks to Anne Crockett):
BERLIN — Hossam Taleb Yaacoub, one of the suspects in a thwarted terrorist attack against Israelis in Cyprus in July, admitted on Wednesday in court that he is a member of Hezbollah.
Yaacoub, a 24-year old Lebanese-Swedish citizen, faces eight charges in the criminal court in the city of Limassol. The Cypriot authorities charged him with membership in a criminal organization whose aim is “carrying out missions in any part of the world, including the Cyprus Republic, against Israeli citizens,” among seven other crimes — reduced from an original 17 terrorism-related charges.
The Jerusalem Post has learned that Yaacoub said under oath on Wednesday that while he came to Cyprus without Hezbollah connections, he met with an operative named Ayman from the Lebanese terrorist group. Yaacoub said he knew how to use weapons but that the purpose of his visit to Cyprus was business.
It is unclear if Yaacoub’s meeting with the Hezbollah operative took place in Cyprus, Lebanon or Sweden.
The New York Times reported on Wednesday that Yaacoub told the court, “I never saw the face of Ayman because he was always wearing a mask,” and that Ayman picked Yaacoub up in a van. Yaacoub conducted surveillance of places where Israelis would visit, including a “parking lot behind a Limassol hospital and a hotel called the Golden Arches,” the Times reported.
Magnus Ranstorp, a Hezbollah expert at Sweden’s National Defense College, told the Post on Tuesday that Hezbollah uses “talent scouting” to recruit operatives for its activities abroad. Though Hezbollah had no “overt presence” in Sweden, he said, its members from Sweden keep “popping up regularly.”…