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Copyright 2002 Jerusalem Post
Jerusalem Post

July 3, 2002

HEADLINE: Hizbullah plot to kidnap Israelis

BYLINE: Arieh O'Sullivan

A plot by Hizbullah to lure Israelis abroad or to the northern border so they could be kidnapped and used as bargaining chips was revealed by security sources yesterday.

According to the sources, the Israelis were being promised quick profits for illegal activity.

The security establishment uncovered these attempts by Hizbullah operatives over the past few months. One of the operatives was identified as Kayis Obeid, an Israeli citizen born in Taiba who currently resides in Lebanon.

Intelligence information said he was working for Hizbullah and has been trying over the past few weeks to entice Israelis to travel to Europe or come to the northern border fence. The aim was to kidnap them and turn them over to Hizbullah, which could use them as bargaining chips for future prisoner swaps, the security sources said.

It was not immediately clear why the report was released now, particularly after there has been speculation of an impending prisoner swap. Two weeks ago, Israel freed an ailing Hizbullah prisoner as a goodwill gesture, but over the weekend Hizbullah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah called for the release of another ailing prisoner as a condition for progress.

Israel is keen on negotiating the return of the remains of St.-Sgts. Benny Avraham and Omar Suwayed and Sgt. Adi Avitan, captured by Hizbullah in October 2000.

The IDF has declared them dead based on information and evidence it has received. But Hizbullah has refused to reveal any information about them or about a fourth Israeli, Col. (res.) Elhanan Tannenbaum, abducted a few weeks later.

Israel is holding Sheik Abdel Karim Obeid and Mustafa Dirani as bargaining chips for information on missing aviator Ron Arad and the other MIAs.

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