Ilya TsukanovAll materialsWrite to the authorThe Lebanese political movement and militant group is known to enjoy warm ties with Venezuela – Colombia’s regional arch-enemy, and Bogota and Washington have accused Caracas of providing the group with financial assistance. Hezbollah and the Venezuelan government have dismissed such claims as baseless.Hezbollah militants reportedly hatched a plot to assassinate an Israeli national, diplomat and former intelligence officer living in Bogota as part of a broader effort to avenge the January 2020 US killing of Revolutionary Guard Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani, Colombia’s El Tiempo newspaper has reported, citing unnamed military intelligence sources.
According to the broadsheet’s information, Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency discovered that the unnamed Israeli, who opened up a business selling surveillance equipment in the Colombian capital, was being spied upon by Hezbollah, with the group also said to be keeping an eye on US diplomats working in the city. After the surveillance operation was uncovered, the Israeli national was sed to have fled Bogota back to Israel.
The newspaper’s sources suggested that Hezbollah planned to use former members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) rebel group to carry out the assassination.
Colombian officials told El Tiempo that the alleged incident took place against the backdrop of a general uptick in Hezbollah activity in the Latin American country, and claims that the group used Colombia to conduct “criminal activities.”Colombian Defence Minister Diego Molano told the paper that his country’s security forces recently “had to deal with a situation where we had to organize an operation to capture and expel two criminals commissioned by Hezbollah with the intention of committing a criminal act in Colombia.” The minister did not elaborate on the ‘criminal act’, except to say that there was a “risk with Hezbollah” in neighbouring Venezuela and “what its links to drug traffic or terrorist groups on the Venezuelan side could generate for national security.”Hezbollah has not commented on the El Tiempo report, but previously dismissed as false claims about alleged criminal activities in Colombia made by Bogota and pro-government media.
Molano paid a visit to Israel last week, praising the countries’ joint fight against the “common enemy in Iran and Hezbollah.” The Islamic Republic maintains close strategic ties with Venezuela, providing the country with economic assistance and political support in the face of US-led efforts to topple the Caracas government and crush the Venezuelan economy.
US Investigates Venezuela Providing Passports to Hezbollah Members9 December 2019, 17:35 GMTAfter Qasem Soleimani’s January 2020 killing in a US drone strike, Iranian officials warned that Tehran would take revenge against Washington at a time and place of its choosing. So far, however, the Middle Eastern nation has apparently held back from carrying out its threats. Late last year, Iranian Army commander Abdolrahim Mousavi explained that the reason the Islamic Republic had yet to take revenge was because it could not find anyone in the US political or military hierarchy of equal worth to Soleimani to “compensate” his death.The El Tiempo story follows reporting by Israel’s Channel 12 last week alleging that the Revolutionary Guard trained recruits in Lebanon to target Israeli tourists and business people in Tanzania, Ghana and Senegal. No Israelis were harmed in the incident, and the suspects were reportedly detained by local security forces. Iran did not respond to the reporting, but previously called on the international community to be on the lookout for Israeli “fabrications and false flag operations” seeking to implicate Tehran.
Mossad Foiled IRGC Plot to Target Israeli Tourists on Safari in Africa, Israeli Media Claims8 November, 12:40 GMTEarlier this year, The Cradle reported that a US commander and an Israeli officer were assassinated in northern Iraq in the summer of 2021 by pro-Iranian forces in revenge for Soleimani’s murder. The Pentagon admitted at the time that one of its senior officers had died from a ‘non-combat event’, without elaborating. Israeli media reported that an Israeli commander died on 1 July “after collapsing during fitness training at a military base in central Israel.”