Israel is facing a growing threat of heavily armed Arab citizens getting weapons via Iran and Hezbollah. At a time of war, Israeli forces will be mobilized to counter local terrorists or militias inside the country while the army battles external enemies.
For years, Iran and Hezbollah have been smuggling weapons and other arms into Israel, creating an increasingly volatile situation. However, arms transfers are intensifying and threatening to reach more dangerous levels.
Israeli security forces seized over 450 weapons in foiled smuggling attempts this year, including rifles, guns, and hand grenades. This marks more than a 300 percent increase in confiscated arms at the Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan borders, Yediot Aharonot daily reports.
Hezbollah has been involved in illegal arms transfers into Israel for some time. According to previous reports, the group has been using the mountainous border regions between Lebanon and Israel to smuggle weapons.
Hezbollah reportedly intends to activate terror cells inside Israel when the next war erupts. Such well-armed cells will pose a serious security threat and could target civilians as well as military personnel.
New arms smuggling methods
Iran has been aiding Hezbollah’s smuggling project, providing financial and logistical support to the group. The Iranian and Hezbollah terror masters are expanding smuggling operations into Israel to arm Israeli Arabs ahead of the next regional conflict, a police official told Yediot.
In recent years, these operations have become more sophisticated, as Hezbollah developed more advanced methods to smuggle weapons into Israel. The group is also exploring new routes for reaching the Israeli border and launching attacks.
In parallel, Iran is funding and arming new terror factions in the West Bank to to divert the focus of the IDF to the Palestinian front, The Jerusalem Center said recently.
The security forces have been taking more measures to combat the smuggling of arms. The IDF and police bolstered their presence on Israel’s borders, using drones and other surveillance tech to monitor the area for illegal activity.
In addition, specialized police forces increased the number of patrols at potential trouble spots and are setting up ambushes based on intelligence information.
However, defense sources say that these efforts only stop a small part of the weapons flowing into Israel and the West Bank. The extent of violence to be perpetrated by Israeli Arabs in the next war will be much graver than during the 2021 Gaza war, the officials warn.