U.S. intelligence officials have warned of an increasing threat posed by the Lebanese Hezbollah terrorist group, suggesting that it might strike American interests in the Middle East or even within the United States, according to a report by POLITICO.
Hezbollah, which is backed by Iran, is believed to have a more sophisticated network and capability to launch attacks compared to other terrorist organizations such as ISIS. The warnings come amidst rising tensions in the region, which have escalated the risks of an assault, especially on U.S. personnel stationed overseas.
The likelihood of Hezbollah targeting U.S. forces in the Middle East is considered the more immediate threat, but officials have not discounted the possibility of attacks on American soil.
One of the officials, who was granted anonymity to discuss sensitive intelligence, expressed concern about Hezbollah’s ability to execute an attack in the U.S., stating, ‘Hezbollah could utilize their capabilities to position individuals for a potential attack. It is a matter of concern.’
Hezbollah’s expansive international network is seen as a means for the group to activate its operatives to carry out significant attacks within the U.S.
The concerns about Hezbollah’s capabilities and intentions have been highlighted by the recent surge in violence in the region. As of January 9, 2024, a US spokesperson counted 127 attacks on US forces in Iraq and Syria since mid-October 2023.
U.S. intelligence officers fear Hezbollah, an Iranian-backed terror group in Lebanon, could try to carry out an attack on American soil. NEWSMAX Jerusalem correspondent Daniel Cohen has the details.@DanielCohenTV pic.twitter.com/G9BFWojIG3
— NEWSMAX (@NEWSMAX) January 11, 2024
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BREAKING REPORT: ?? Hezbollah sleeper cells purportedly ON THE GROUND in The United States..
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Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah in Lebanon, spoke in November to supporters in Beirut, Lebanon. Nasrallah warned of strikes against US bases in the region, saying, “We will attack US bases. They must pay the price.”
Nasrallah added, “America is fully responsible for the war in Gaza, and Israel is just the tool. The United States is the one preventing the condemnation of Israel in the UN Security Council, and it is the United States that is preventing a ceasefire in Gaza.”
In October, during an address to the International Association of Chiefs of Police conference in San Diego, California, FBI Director Chris Wray issued a dire warning about the rise of violent extremism, both domestic and international.
Wray indicated that there has been a significant uptick in reported threats following the attacks in Israel, cautioning the public to remain vigilant for “lone actors.”
“In this heightened environment, there’s no question we’re seeing an increase in reported threats, and we’ve got to be on the lookout, especially for lone actors who may take inspiration from recent events to commit violence of their own.”
“So I encourage you to stay vigilant, because as the first line of defense in protecting our communities, you’re often the first to see the signs that someone may be mobilizing to violence. And I’d also ask you to continue sharing any intelligence or observations you may have. And on our end, we’re committed to doing the same, so that together, we can safeguard our communities,” he added.
According to an internal memo dated Oct. 20, which was obtained by the Daily Caller News Foundation, the CBP San Diego field office sent out a memo to its officers warning of Jihadists trying to get into the U.S. through the southern border. The terrorist attacks against Israel have potentially inspired Hamas, Hezbollah, and other Jihadists to make their way into our nation.
“San Diego Field Office Intelligence Unit assesses that individuals inspired by, or reacting to the current Israel-Hamas conflict may attempt travel to or from the area of hostilities in the Middle East via circuitous transit across the Southwest border,” the memo reads.
“Foreign fighters motivated by ideology or mercenary soldiers of fortune may attempt to obfuscate travel to or from the US to or from countries in the Middle East through Mexico,” the memo adds.
Still, Lebanese Hezbollah has so far avoided major attacks on Israel or U.S. troops since the most recent conflict kicked off. The group, however, does have a history of targeting Americans and U.S. interests overseas.
In 2011 and 2012, two U.S.-based operatives allegedly surveilled American and Israeli targets in Panama as well as in New York City. And the Islamic Jihad Organization, which later became part of Hezbollah, attacked the U.S. embassy in Beirut in 1983, killing 63 people.
The State Department has increased security at the embassy in recent weeks to stave off any attack on diplomats based in Lebanon, one of the officials said.
“The Lebanon front is ready to kick off. And these Iranian militia are pounding the U.S. in eastern Syria and Iraq,” said Andrew Tabler, who served as special envoy for Syria engagement at the State Department’s Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs in the Trump administration. “It’s interesting that this is all going on in the background and people are focusing on the Gaza theater, but the war is actually much larger than that.”
In November, the Mossad, Israel’s secret service, aided Brazil’s Federal Police in thwarting terrorist attacks planned by Hezbollah. Brazilian law enforcement initiated an intelligence operation that led to the arrest of two individuals linked to the terrorist group.
Dubbed “Operation Trapiche,” Brazilian police executed two temporary arrest warrants and 11 search and seizure warrants. The operations took place in the states of Minas Gerais, São Paulo, and the Federal District.
The terrorists were affiliated with the Hezbollah terrorist group, which had intentions to attack buildings within the Brazilian Jewish community. According to investigators, the suspects may face charges under anti-terrorism laws, carrying penalties of up to 15 years and 6 months in prison.
Mossad collaborated with Brazil’s Federal Police intelligence to dismantle the terrorist network planning attacks against Jews. The office of Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, confirmed the Israeli secret service’s involvement in Brazil’s defense.
Source material can be found at this site.