IDF Says Son-in-Law of Assassinated Iranian Military Commander Qassem Soleimani is Smuggling Weapons From Syria to Lebanon
A prominent Hezbollah operative is reportedly smuggling weapons from Iran to Lebanon with civilian aircraft, using a network supported by the Tehran regime’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), the Israeli Defense Forces said on Friday.
In a series of tweets, Avichay Adraee — the IDF’s Arabic language spokesman — revealed that Sayyed Reza Hashim Safi al-Din, who is married to the daughter of Qassem Soleimani, the IRGC commander killed by a US drone strike in the Iraqi capital Baghdad in Jan. 2020, was running the weapons transfer route. Al-Din’s father, Sayed Hashem Safi al-Din, head of Hezbollah’s Executive Council, was said to be exploiting “his high position and the infrastructure of the Lebanese state to help his son transfer strategic weapons from Damascus to Lebanon.”
Adraee warned that by using civilian planes “to ensure confidentiality,” the weapons smuggling operation was placing civilians at Damascus Airport in “imminent danger.”
“The Hezbollah terrorists exploit the Lebanese state and its citizens that serve the Iranian interest,” Adraee wrote.
Al-Din’s visits to Tehran centered on his coordination of “advanced weapons transfers to Hezbollah using a network of infrastructure, resources and activists that belong to the Executive Council headed by his father and with the support of parties related to the Revolutionary Guards,” Adraee said.
Adraee pledged that the IDF would continue to monitor “all Hezbollah attempts to threaten the security of the State of Israel and will act as needed to protect the security and citizens of the country.”
Hezbollah, which is heavily backed financially and militarily by Iran, lost its majority in the Lebanese parliament in last Sunday’s elections. The terrorist group’s poor showing reflected the dissatisfaction of the Lebanese public with the country’s dire economic predicament following four years of a coalition government with Hezbollah at its core.
“Lebanese voters have voted tactically to pierce Hezbollah’s popular strongholds, weaken its main Christian ally and eliminate some of Syria’s infamous protégés,” elections and governance expert Maroun Sfeir told CNN. “This vote has also led to the emergence of an independent political bloc that could impact the dynamics in a severely fragmented parliament.”
Hezbollah secretary-general Hasan Nasrallah addressed the elections during a speech on Wednesday, insisting despite the result that “the massive popular participation and the results of the elections convey a message of adhering to the resistance and its weapons.”
US State Department Spokesman Ned Price praised the elections for having been “held on time and without major security incidents” in a statement on Friday.
“As Lebanon looks ahead, we urge those elected and the country’s political leaders to heed the Lebanese people’s call for change and to work seriously, and with urgency, to take the necessary actions to rescue the economy. We also urge the swift formation of a government capable of and committed to undertaking the hard work required to restore the confidence of the Lebanese people and the international community,” Price said.