Jordan Accuses Hezbollah of Plotting Attacks on U.S., Israeli Targets
Jordanian prosecutors charged eight people with planning to attack American soldiers and Israel’s embassy in the country, in addition to recruiting individuals on behalf of Hezbollah. A Syrian fugitive and seven Jordanians are accused of being part of a “conspiracy with intent to carry out terrorist acts,” according to an Investigative Project on Terrorism translation of a Jordanian daily Al Ghad story.
The suspects are accused of being Hezbollah members. The Lebanese-based Iranian terror proxy is an illegal organization in Jordan and is designated as a terrorist group by the U.S. and other major Western countries. The seven Jordanians had automatic weapons, basic materials for manufacturing explosives, and small imaging devices to conduct intelligence operations when they were arrested in May.
The indictment reveals that this case dates back to 2006, when the main defendant became infuriated with the presence of American soldiers in Jordan. He then recruited others, who were all members of the “Association Against Zionism and Racism.”
According to the indictment, the defendants conducted surveillance of a road frequented by American soldiers and plotted an attack using AK-47s. Later, the plan changed to a bombing attack after a new recruit to the group brought experience with explosives.
The group practiced detonating bombs and studied using remote controlled devices.
During Israel’s 2008 counterterrorism operation in Gaza, according to the indictment, the men allegedly agreed to conduct a terrorist attack against on the Starbucks café in Sweifieh, believing that it belonged to a “Zionist company.” The ringleader also suggested that they attack the Israeli embassy.
The main defendant met with a Hezbollah security official named Abdul Aziz in Lebanon in 2011, the Jordanian indictment says. The Hezbollah official instructed the defendant to recruit more people for possible attacks. In 2012, Hezbollah e-mailed the main defendant and inquired whether explosives could be smuggled into Israel. The group began making explosives using battery acid and fertilizer, and also built a secret underground bunker to train other recruits in firing weapons. Cell members photographed the bunker and sent it to Hezbollah.
Jordanian authorities also seized laptops containing encrypted files that featured detailed Hezbollah instructions, information regarding the detonation of timers using remote controls, the manufacture of silencers and chemical products pertaining to the construction of explosives, and instructions regarding the role of photography in terrorist operations.
If convicted, the suspect could face a lifetime of manual labor.
The extensive details produced by the indictment show the extent to which Hezbollah continues its terrorist campaign against Western and Israeli targets. In the past couple of years, numerous plots have been exposed around the world, including the Burgas bus bombing that resulted in the deaths of five Israelis and a Bulgarian bus driver.