Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Philadelphia Bulletin: Hezbollah Cell training in Sudan

by David Bedein

The Middle East Newsline has confirmed the Hezbollah network in Egypt planned to train its recruits in suicide bombing tactics in Sudan and in other countries in the Middle East.

Egyptian security sources report that Hezbollah operatives told interrogators the network worked to send scores of recruits for training in Lebanon, Libya, Sudan and Syria. Hezbollah had prepared training areas and instructors for these Egyptian recruits.

“The issue is much bigger than Hezbollah,” Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abu al-Gheit said. “It is an attempt to harm Egypt’s interests and twist its policy.”

So far, Egypt has identified at least 49 suspected members of the Hezbollah network. The sources said the network numbered 100 members, with about a quarter of them hiding in the Sinai Peninsula.

The Egyptian daily newspaper al-Masri al-Yom reported that two of the detainees detailed a Hezbollah plot to conduct a major terror attack in Tel Aviv.

Mohammed Ramadan Abdul Fatah Baraka and Nadal Hassan were identified as members of the Fatah movement who infiltrated Egypt from the Gaza Strip and settled in al-Arish, Egypt.

Hezbollah planned to send Baraka and Hassan to Sudan for training in suicide strikes. From Sudan, the sources said, the two Palestinians had been scheduled to fly to Syria and Lebanon.

Hezbollah recruits were told to report to Libya for intelligence training, but the sources said some of the recruits were unable to enter the North African country.

These Palestinian terrorists were said to have been recruited by the Hezbollah network in Egypt in 2008. After their recruitment, Baraka and Hassan returned to the Gaza Strip and months later infiltrated Sinai before agreeing to participate in the suicide attack.

Egypt has determined the Hezbollah effort was directed and financed by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. Officials said Tehran has deemed Hezbollah a vital asset in Iran’s strategy to destabilize pro-U.S. regimes in the Middle East.

“Iran’s relationship with Hezbollah has gone beyond the stage of solid ties to a close relationship that has resulted in long-term military cooperation in addition to security and intelligence cooperation,” Egyptian security analyst [Ret.] Maj. Gen. Sameh Saif al-Yazal said.

View this story in the Philadelphia Bulletin
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