CST Blog

Hizbollah "collecting information about the Jews...everywhere"

27 February 2013

CST has long urged the UK Jewish community to be alert to potential terrorist surveillance and to report suspicions to CST or Police. The ongoing trial in Cyprus, of an alleged Hizbollah operative, again confirms the importance of this message. The Washington Post reports:

“I was just collecting information about the Jews,” he told police, according to a sworn deposition. “This is what my organization is doing, everywhere in the world.”

It further explains of the suspect's arrest:

...the dark-haired 24-year-old attracted suspicion because of his apparent fascination with the habits of Jewish visitors to the sun-drenched island.

For more than a week last summer, he crisscrossed the island, asking questions and staking out hotels and businesses catering to Jewish customers. He scoured the island for restaurants that served kosher meals.

“I was supposed to spot Israeli restaurants where Jews eat kosher,” he would explain later to investigators. “I was looking it up on the Internet and couldn’t find anything.”

Hizbollah's propensity to murder Jews is fundamental to Jewish security concerns throughout the world. In particular, their role in the murder of 84 people in the truck bombing of the AMIA Jewish community centre in Buenos Aires on 18th July 1994. Today, as then, Hizbollah terrorism is part of Iran's arsenal, to be used against Jews and/or Israelis as the group and its sponsors see fit. The Cyprus case adds further weight to this fact.

The arrest in Cyprus came 11 days before the Burgas Airport attack of 18th July 2012 that killed five Israeli holidaymakers and their Bulgarian driver. The Washington Post report shows how the modus operandi of the Cyprus suspect (a Lebanese born Swedish man), matches that of the Burgas bomber.

As has been pointed out, the Burgas attack was deliberately on the same date as the Buenos Aires attack - showing the terrorists' persistence and hatred of both Jews and Israelis.

The Bulgaria attack, in a European Union member state, has led to many calls for Hizbollah to be banned throughout the EU. Cyprus is also in the EU, so this latest case should add to that pressure. The reality of Hizbollah and Iranian Revolutionary terrorism and hatred of Jews and the West has, however, been blatantly obvious for decades. This is why we have long believed that Hizbollah, in its totality, should be banned throughout the European Union. It is why locally we oppose public displays of pro-Hizbollah flag-waving (featuring an assault rifle), and why we called last summer for London buses to stop carrying adverts for demonstrations on which such flag-waving routinely occurs. It is why we deplore those who either speak at such events, or allow their names to be used in the promotion of them.

Hizbollah is a global organisation with overt and covert actors and goals. In Lebanon, it is inescapably part of the sociopolitical fabric. In neighbouring Syria, its military muscle may very soon make a full public appearance. So, banning Hizbollah will make neither it, nor its UK fans disappear. It will not end the group's terrorist capacity.

Nevertheless, the time for an EU ban is long overdue and Jewish communal security responses will continue to reflect that fact. In 2012, CST had 204 cases of potential hostile information collection reported to us. This included 60 cases of suspicious filming or photographing of Jewish locations and 38 cases of suspicious people trying to enter Jewish premises. As our annual antisemitic incidents report notes (see p6 of pdf here), most of these cases are no doubt wholly innocent, but identifying, reporting and following up on them is a highly important matter - as Cyprus has shown, yet again.

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