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Israel police says Hezbollah smuggling weapons to Arab Israelis

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The Iranian-backed Lebanese group Hezbollah is trying to smuggle weapons into Israel to be used by Arab Israelis in future clashes, Israel’s police said on Tuesday.

Israel’s police noticed a “significant increase” in attempts to smuggle weapons into the country by Hezbollah through the Lebanese and Jordanian borders since May, The Times of Israel reported.

Israeli police added that the quality of smuggled weapons has increased sharply, and the number of attempts has risen, presenting what they describe as a “strategic threat”.

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The police said the weapons are meant to reach “crime organizations in the Arab community” with the purpose of being used in “terror attacks” should there be a “surge in violence between Jews and Arabs”.

Since the beginning of 2021, Israel’s northern district police have seized 140 pistols and 20 assault rifles, but the officers estimate that many more weapons were successfully smuggled into the country.

Israel describes Hezbollah as the biggest threat on its borders.

Hezbollah was founded by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards in 1982 to fight Israeli forces that invaded Lebanon that year.

The Shia group, classified by the US as a terrorist organization, has since grown in power, armed and financed by Tehran.

Israel’s Defense Forces (IDF) and the defense ministry’s National Emergency Management Authority launched at the end of October a week-long exercise simulating a full-scale war with Hezbollah.

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