A video went viral this week of a Hezbollah operative entering a tunnel at the border of Lebanon with Israel during Israel’s Operation Northern Shield. Northern Shield is an effort to destroy the tunnel network being created by Hezbollah and Iran to infiltrate and attack Israel from Lebanon.
In the video, the Hezbollah terrorist clambers confidently toward a camera placed in the tunnel until he sees something, peers at it closely, and realizes what it is. He whirls around and takes off as fast as he can go.
The little drama in the 37-second video has come in for some mirth on the Web.
On Friday 7 December, Israeli blogger Aussie Dave at Israeli Cool posted additional information about the “frightened mouse” Hezbollah guy in the tunnel. Citing another Israeli blogger, Abu Ali, who had put out an APB on the tunnel guy on social media, Aussie Dave presented his findings. (H/t: @brianoflondon)
The findings include work done by a reporter for Israeli news service i24, Mattias Inbar. (Video below.)
The Hezbollah operative is identified as Imad “Azaladin” Fahs, a commander in the Hezbollah tunnel unit. He studied engineering at Tehran University and is in his 30s.
He also spent time training with the drug cartels in Mexico, polishing up his tunnel-building skills.
Some of the replies at Aussie Dave’s tweet on his post are skeptical.
Here’s hoping this curtails his ability to travel throughout the world…preferably due to his demise. https://t.co/dgczBHOfkk
— Ozraeli Dave (@Israellycool) December 7, 2018
But we’ve actually known for some years that Hezbollah is not only in Mexico, and not only working with the cartels, but is training in tunneling with the cartels.
In a review for the Wall Street Journal in October 2013, Michael J. Totten, the highly-regarded independent defense correspondent, cited research done by Matthew Levitt for Levitt’s book Hezbollah: The Global Footprint of Lebanon’s Party of God (emphasis added):
The Party of God [Hezbollah] is particularly active in South America’s tri-border region, where Argentina, Paraguay and Brazil converge. Its base of operations there is Paraguay’s Ciudad del Este, a lawless and corrupt counterfeiting capital. Hezbollah has also been active in northern Latin America, forging ideologically promiscuous ties with Colombia’s right-wing paramilitary groups and communist guerrillas and digging tunnels for drug cartels on the Mexican-American border—the same kinds of tunnel networks it has spent years perfecting along the geographically similar Lebanese-Israeli border.
As of 2013, Hezbollah was known to have sleeper cells dotted around the American Southwest. A Clarion article by Meira Svirksy a few days later noted that a Hezbollah operative had been arrested in Tijuana (where tunnels running into the U.S. are found every year) in 2010.
So, yes, it’s not only possible but extremely likely that Imad “Azaladin” Fahs studied tunnel-building in Mexico, probably on the U.S. border. (A researcher at U. Texas-El Paso in 2014 found that Hezbollah had particular links to the Los Zetas cartel, Mexico’s best armed and most sophisticated.)
We can also revisit Josh Meyer’s major piece for Politico in 2017 outlining Project Cassandra, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s years-long effort to roll up Hezbollah drug-trafficking activities that span the globe – but are centered on Latin America. (DEA sources, remember, said the Obama administration was reluctant to pursue the project aggressively for fear it would antagonize Iran.)
It’s a small world out there. No telling where some of those Fast and Furious firearms have ended up by now. And not at all unlikely that Hezbollah terrorists have been heading to the U.S. border with the migrant caravans (or just on routine business with the Zetas), and may well be in Tijuana, or other locations in northern Mexico, perhaps even digging tunnels, as we speak.