Swedish man of Lebanese descent arrested for spying against Israel

Marcy Oster

JERUSALEM (JTA) — A Swedish citizen of Lebanese descent was charged in Israel with spying for the terror group Hezbollah.

Khalil Hizran, 55, who was born to Palestinian refugee parents, was arrested last month after flying into Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion International Airport. He confessed to working on behalf of Hezbollah, the Shin Bet security service said in a statement released Sunday, after a gag order on the case was lifted.

Hizran, 55, was recruited by Hezbollah in 2009 while on a trip to Lebanon with his family, according to the Shin Bet. He entered Lebanon again in 2011 and 2013 to meet with the terror group’s leaders.

Hezbollah reportedly asked Hizran to recruit Israelis to the movement, particularly those with ties to Jewish groups, military personnel and members of the IDF or the government, according to the Shin Bet. He also was asked to gather information on military bases, and places where army personnel gather, and where weapons and tanks are stored, according to the Shin Bet.

He was indicted Sunday on three criminal charges: providing information to a terror group, contact with a foreign agent, and accepting funds from Hezbollah.

“Hezbollah’s interest in the entry process and inspections in Ben Gurion Airport indicates Hezbollah’s desire to identify the loopholes in the process, which will allow it to get its people into Israel undisturbed and without falling under suspicion,” the statement released by the Shin Bet said. “Hezbollah’s interest in army bases and IDF targets proves once again that Hezbollah is gearing up for the next campaign with Israel, and is marking these targets in its ‘bank of targets.’”

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