August 24, 2023 | Flash Brief

Israel Arrests Four Citizens for Smuggling Iran-Made Explosives

August 24, 2023 | Flash Brief

Israel Arrests Four Citizens for Smuggling Iran-Made Explosives

Latest Developments

Israeli authorities on August 24 announced the arrest of four Arab Israelis for smuggling Iran-made explosives obtained from the terrorist group Hezbollah. Israel’s Shin Bet security agency alleged that Hezbollah “worked to recruit and operate a network of smugglers in Israel to provide and distribute weapons to various parties, including criminal elements.” The Israeli investigation found ammunition and explosives in the possession of the suspects, who include residents of the central Israeli cities of Kafr Qasim and Lod.

Expert Analysis

“The regime in Iran has a game plan to surround and threaten Israel on every border. That plan has expanded to target Arab Israelis to commit violence inside Israel, both in their own towns, where the Arab-on-Arab murder rate has grown to shocking and unprecedented numbers, and in attacks against Jewish Israelis. Unless the regime pays a direct price for this violence, Israelis will be fighting a bloody war on the Jewish state’s borders and inside the country.” — Mark Dubowitz, FDD CEO

“The Islamic Republic’s exploitation of the Israeli Arab community is a truly disturbing spectacle. Arab Israelis contribute significantly to Israeli society, and the social contract with Israel’s Arab citizens is vital to the country’s identity. However, given the threat posed by Iran and Hezbollah, Israeli security services have little choice now but to probe for additional breaches of security in the Arab sector. This will undoubtedly cause tensions to spike. Both sides will need to tread carefully.” —Jonathan Schanzer, FDD Senior Vice President for Research

Increasing Tensions Between Hezbollah and Israel

The Israeli arrests come amid escalating friction between Israel and Hezbollah at the Lebanese border. For example, on July 15, a Hezbollah-affiliated member of the Lebanese Parliament illegally led an 18-person group across the border. On July 14, Hezbollah operatives illegally entered Israel and stole military equipment. On July 9, a group of 30 Lebanese soldiers and Hezbollah members illegally crossed the border. And in May, Hezbollah erected two quasi-military structures in Israeli territory.

Over the past year, Hezbollah has also built 27 military outposts along the border under the guise of an environmental group called Green Without Borders (GWB). On August 16, the United States sanctioned GWB and its leader, Zuhair Subhi Nahla. On July 27, Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, Gilad Erdan, wrote that Hezbollah “is leading the way towards outright conflict, and the consequences of such a conflict will be disastrous for the entire region.”

Iran’s Role

Hezbollah is a proxy of Iran, which provides the group with funding, weapons, and training. Experts estimate that Hezbollah possesses 150,000 rockets and 500 precision-guided missiles aimed at Israel with the intention of overwhelming Israeli defense systems in a future conflict. However, the terrorist group has avoided a major armed conflict with Israel since the 2006 Second Lebanon War. Continued unrest at the Lebanese border and Hezbollah’s smuggling of weapons to Arab Israelis suggest that may soon change. Iran and Hezbollah likely believe that Israeli deterrence is at a historic low point due to ongoing controversy over Israel’s judicial reform.

Treasury Department Sanctions Hezbollah ‘Green’ Front Group,” FDD Flash Brief

Hezbollah ‘Green’ Group Builds Dozens of New Military Outposts Along Israeli Border,” by Orde Kittrie

Continued Hezbollah Impunity Risks Regional Explosion,” by Orde Kittrie


Iran Iran Global Threat Network Iran-backed Terrorism Israel