Israel diplomats warned over Hizbollah “sleepers”

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel has put its diplomatic missions abroad on high alert for possible attacks by Hizbollah or local Muslims angered by Israel’s offensive against the Lebanese guerrilla group, security sources said on Monday.

They said Israeli intelligence analysts had raised concern that Hizbollah agents could be hiding among an exodus of Lebanese fleeing the fighting to countries with big Jewish communities and where Israel has embassies and consulates.

A senior source from a Western nation taking in refugees confirmed that such “sleeper agents” were considered a threat. The United States and Canada were among the countries who said they were screening arriving evacuees carefully as part of their security efforts.

 

“In general, our foreign representations are always on an alert status, but this has been significantly stepped up given the fighting in the north (Lebanon) and all that entails regarding threats abroad,” an Israeli security source said.

“The refugee situation must be watched,” the source said.

Israel blamed Hizbollah for car bomb attacks on its embassy and a Jewish center in Argentina in 1992 and 1994, which killed scores of people. Hizbollah said it did not operate outside Lebanon, and its main sponsor, Iran, also denied involvement.

Israel’s artillery shelling and air strikes have displaced hundreds of thousands of people from Lebanon. Foreign powers have provided emergency evacuation for diplomatic staff, tourists, and Lebanese who are also their nationals.

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel has put its diplomatic missions abroad on high alert for possible attacks by Hizbollah or local Muslims angered by Israel’s offensive against the Lebanese guerrilla group, security sources said on Monday.

They said Israeli intelligence analysts had raised concern that Hizbollah agents could be hiding among an exodus of Lebanese fleeing the fighting to countries with big Jewish communities and where Israel has embassies and consulates.

A senior source from a Western nation taking in refugees confirmed that such “sleeper agents” were considered a threat. The United States and Canada were among the countries who said they were screening arriving evacuees carefully as part of their security efforts.

 

“In general, our foreign representations are always on an alert status, but this has been significantly stepped up given the fighting in the north (Lebanon) and all that entails regarding threats abroad,” an Israeli security source said.

“The refugee situation must be watched,” the source said.

Israel blamed Hizbollah for car bomb attacks on its embassy and a Jewish center in Argentina in 1992 and 1994, which killed scores of people. Hizbollah said it did not operate outside Lebanon, and its main sponsor, Iran, also denied involvement.

Israel’s artillery shelling and air strikes have displaced hundreds of thousands of people from Lebanon. Foreign powers have provided emergency evacuation for diplomatic staff, tourists, and Lebanese who are also their nationals.

The United States has brought almost 12,000 citizens out of Lebanon.

Hizbollah, which advocates the destruction of Israel, extended help to Palestinians behind an armed revolt that erupted in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Gaza in 2000.

Shortly after the Israeli offensive began, Hizbollah said that any previous constraints on its operations were void.

“As long as the enemy pursues its aggression without limits and red lines we will pursue the confrontation without limits and red lines,” said the guerrilla group’s leader, Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah.

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