JERUSALEM – Israel has raised the level of alert for its embassies and consulates worldwide, including in the U.S., for fear Hezbollah sleeper agents are seeking to attack Israeli targets oversees, WND has learned.
Israeli security officials also recommended some Jewish institutions in the U.S. and abroad heighten their alert level as Israel’s military campaign in Lebanon enters its third week following a Hezbollah raid in which two Israeli soldiers were kidnapped.
The information comes after FBI officials told reporters last week they were searching for possible Hezbollah agents operating inside the U.S. amid concerns escalating tensions with Iran could trigger attacks on American soil.
It also follows a WND exclusive interview last week in which Abu Nasser, second-in-command of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades terrorist group, warned it is only a “question of time” before Palestinian terror groups and other Islamic organizations in the Middle East target the U.S. both abroad and on the home front.
According to Israeli security officials, Abu Nasser and the overall leader of the Al Aqsa Brigades in northern Samaria, Ala Senakreh, coordinate their groups activities directly with Hezbollah. Sources in the Brigades admitted to WND they work in tandem with Hezbollah, which they say provides funding and training.
“The Americans deserve to be targeted because of their support to the enemy. … It is a question of time before the revolutionary organizations in the Middle East will start targeting the Americans,” said Abu Nasser, speaking to WND from Nablus.
The Al Aqsa Brigades, the declared “military wing” of Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah party, is responsible for scores of rocket and shooting attacks, and – together with Islamic Jihad – for every suicide bombing since last February’s so-called cease-fire.
“One can say that these threats are just rhetoric, but the near past proved that these threats come more and more into reality,” said Abu Nasser. “Believe me, it is a new era and I am suggesting to the American people to adopt a different policy and strategy because very soon they will deal with a unified Muslim world, but without the help of their agents in the Middle East.”
The Al Aqsa Brigades is not thought to possess the ability to attack inside the U.S., but there are concerns its ally, Hezbollah, has infiltrated and is seeking to attack.
Hezbollah representatives in Iran warned last week the group stood ready to target U.S. and Israeli interests worldwide.
American law enforcement officials said they are taking the Hezbollah threats seriously.
“Because of the heightened difficulties surrounding U.S.-Iranian relations, the FBI has increased its focus on Hezbollah,” said FBI spokesman Paul Bresson in Washington.
“Those investigations relate particularly to the potential presence of Hezbollah members on U.S. soil.”
William Kowalski, assistant special agent in charge of the FBI in Detroit, asked, “If the situation escalates, will Hezbollah take the gloves off, so to speak, and attack here in the United States, which they’ve been reluctant to do until now?”
Detroit is home to one of the largest Muslim communities in the United States. Hezbollah sympathizers have been caught fund-raising in the city.
Two men pled guilty earlier this month to racketeering charges in which a smuggling ring based in Michigan is accused of funneling profits to Hezbollah.
U.S. law enforcement agencies reportedly have indications Hezbollah agents are on U.S. soil and may be planning attacks.
In May, the New York Post cited law-enforcement and intelligence officials stating Hezbollah may be planning to activate sleeper cells in New York and other big cities as the U.S. confrontation with Iran escalates.
The sources told the Post about a dozen hard-core supporters of Hezbollah are operating in the New York area. They said the possible Hezbollah agents have been placed under heavy surveillance.
Hezbollah never has launched a strike on U.S. soil, but prior to al-Qaida’s Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, it was responsible for more American deaths than any other terrorist group.
Hezbollah is accused of attacking the U.S. embassy in Lebanon, killing 63, and of a spate of kidnappings and murders of Americans in Lebanon. Hezbollah’s deadliest attack against Americans was the 1983 bombing of Marine barracks in Beirut that killed 241 U.S. servicemen.
Hezbollah also is suspected of striking Jewish targets abroad, including the truck bombing in 1992 of the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires in which 29 people were killed, and a bombing two years later of an Israeli-owned building in Buenos Aires in 1994, killing 85 civilians.