Known drug dealer helped kidnap soldiers

German paper says he had ties with Israel

By Yossi Melman
Ha'aretz Correspondent
Wednesday, April 18, 2001.

A Lebanese drug dealer who was twice held by Israel, and used at least once as an informer during the its occupation of Lebanon, was involved in the Hezbollah kidnapping of three soldiers last October, according to an article in the German edition of the Financial Times yesterday.

German journalist Christopher Roiter wrote that the drug dealer, Ramsey Nahara, was drawn into a Hezbollah kidnap plot last year, but the sudden IDF withdrawal from south Lebanon in May 2000 scotched the plan. Hezbollah approached Nahara because of his previous contacts with Israel, Roiter reported, and Nahara approached the three soldiers to tempt them into a drug deal.

Rumors of the three soldiers being involved in a drug deal with a Lebanese man circulated in Israel soon after the kidnapping, but an IDF investigation said it was not true. The German journalist said he was aware of the IDF investigation, but he repeated the allegation in his article. In a conversation with Ha'aretz, Roiter said he was basing his report on highly credible sources - one of them a Lebanese prisoner who spent time in a cell with Nahara after he was arrested several weeks ago in Lebanon for trying to bring a large shipment of drugs from Cyprus.

Nahara and his brother Mufeid are believed to be among the biggest drug dealers in the Middle East and are well known to Israeli intelligence agencies and police.

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