A former Mossad agent was extracted from Bogota amid a report that Hezbollah was tracking Israeli and U.S. diplomats and businessmen.
By Pesach Benson, United With Israel
Colombian Defense Minister Diego Molano disclosed that two Hezbollah operatives were recently expelled from the South American country.
“Two months ago we had to deal with a situation where we had to set up an operation to capture and expel two criminals mandated by Hezbollah who intended to commit a criminal act in Colombia,” Molano told the daily El Tiempo.
Molano didn’t elaborate, but El Tiempo cited Colombian military officials who said the operatives were spying on Israeli and U.S. diplomats and businessmen. The report also said the paper obtained classified documents which prove that the Mossad tipped off Colombian authorities to a Hezbollah plot to assassinate a former Mossad agent living in Bogota, Columbia’s capital.
As a result of the El Tiempo report, the agent, who has not been identified, was extracted from Bogota, where he recently opened a surveillance technology company, Haaretz reported on Sunday.
It wasn’t clear from the reports exactly when the Israeli was evacuated.
Molano said there is a “risk with Hezbollah in Venezuela and what its relations with drug trafficking or terrorist groups on the Venezuelan side could generate for national security.”
Colombian President Ivan Duque, during a visit to Israel on Wednesday, added further confirmation that Hezbollah was planning an attack on Colombian soil.
“For us, Hezbollah is a terror group. And where we see Hezbollah activities in our territory, we act fast and strong. And in fact, we have captured members who were allegedly working for Hezbollah seeking targets for terrorist acts in our country.”
Iran still seeks to avenge the assassinations of senior Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps officer Qassem Soleimani and Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the father of Iran’s nuclear program. Israeli businessmen working around the world are considered soft targets. A Mossad tip off to police in Cyprus foiled a plot targeting Israeli businessmen. The lead suspect, an Azeri hitman, reportedly had Hezbollah images on his phone when he was arrested. Israel blames Iran.
Colombia designated Hezbollah as a terror organization in 2020.
An estimated 700,000 Lebanese expatriates live in Colombia, making the South American country fertile ground for Hezbollah recruiters.
Hezbollah and Palestinian terror groups are also known to be active in neighboring Venezuela.
Hezbollah’s operatives in Venezuela are involved in the trafficking of arms, drugs and even women and children. Hezbollah is also active in smuggling strategic metals such as uranium and thorium for Iran. Those metals can be used to fuel a nuclear chain reaction. Venezuela is also rich in coltan, a rare earth mineral used to manufacture electronic capacitors in commonly used cell phones, laptops and other technology.
Much of the smuggling of those metals goes through Colombia.
During Duque’s visit, Israeli President Isaac Herzog raised concerns about Hezbollah terror cells operating along the Colombia-Venezuela border, according to Hebrew media reports.
Hezbollah has also been tied to Colombian drug cartels trafficking tons of cocaine to Europe and laundering money in Lebanon.
It wouldn’t be the first time Hezbollah acted as Iran’s proxy to target Israelis and Jews in South America.
The terror organization blew up the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires in 1992 and the headquarters of the Buenos Aires Jewish community in 1994. Combined, the two attacks killed 115 people and injured more than 500.
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