|Hezbollah's new terror project mastermind: 'Worst of the worst'|
|[Jpost] Ali Mussa Daqduq, Nasrallah's former bodyguard, is said by the IDF to be the mastermind behind Hezbollah's Golan Project.|
Six years after senior Hezbollah operative Ali Mussa Daqduq was released from an Iraqi prison for the murder of five American servicemen, he has resurfaced mere miles from Israel’s border on the Syrian Golan Heights as the of a new and dangerous Hezbollah terror network.
According to the IDF, Daqduq is the leader of Hezbollah’s clandestine "Golan Project" ‐ a terrorist network which the IDF believes is aiming to build up its capabilities to one day launch serious attacks against Israel such as rocket and infiltrations into communities on the Israel Golan Heights.
|IDF: Hezbollah Head Of Golan Operations Murdered U.S. Troops In Iraq|
|[Jpost] The Hezbollah terrorist organization has begun an attempt to establish and entrench a covert force in the Syrian Golan Heights.|
The Lebanese Shi’ite terror group Hezbollah is building a new and dangerous terror network in Syria’s Golan Heights without the knowledge of Syrian , the IDF has revealed.
"The Hezbollah terrorist organization has begun an attempt to establish and entrench a covert force in the Syrian Golan Heights that is designed to act against Israel when given the order," the IDF said on Tuesday.
According to the IDF, the network ‐ called "The Golan Project" ‐ is currently in its initial stages of establishment and recruitment and is not yet operational.
It is led by senior Hezbollah commander Ali Mussa Daqduq, who spent five years in an Iraqi prison for a 2007 attack that killed five American soldiers in the Karbala Governorate. He was released in 2012, went back to and was sent to Syria this past summer to establish the Golan terror network.
Other senior Hezbollah operatives involved in the clandestine project have been identified by the IDF as Bashar and Ismail Mustafa, Talal Hassoun and Fahim Abu Qais.
According to senior intelligence officers in the IDF’s Northern Command, Hezbollah’s Golan Project began in the summer following the reconquering of the Syrian Golan by regime troops.
All actions of operatives are compartmentalized and kept secret from each other and the local population to advance their project without the regime knowing.
"Hezbollah is taking advantage of the fact that Assad is busy in the north of the country and that villagers in the Syrian Golan need the money," the senior officers said, stressing that "if Assad is serious then he has to have full control and know what is happening in his territory."
The Hezbollah are currently focusing on familiarizing themselves with the Syrian Golan Heights and on gathering intelligence on Israel and the border area. They are also working to establish intelligence gathering capabilities against Israel, operating from civilian observation posts and regime military positions near the border.
The Golan Project has its headquarters in Damascus and the Lebanese capital of Beirut, and there are tens of operatives operating in the Syrian towns of Hader, Quneitra and Erneh who collect intelligence on Israel and military movement on the Israeli Golan Heights.
"The proximity of these communities to Israel is what allows the operatives to conduct observations continuously and without revealing their true goal ‐ to convey information about the regular activities of our forces to Hezbollah and the leaders of the network," the military said.
According to the senior officers, the operatives have weaponry available from the civil war and if needed, will receive additional weaponry from or existing arsenals kept by Hezbollah and Iran in Syria.
While some of the operatives have taken part in attacks against Israel in the past, other local Syrian villagers joined for financial reasons. A portion of the operatives have undergone training by Hezbollah in sabotage, sharpshooting and firing "The Northern Command and the 210th Division have identified the enemy’s movements and are acting to strengthen the security response at the border by strengthening intelligence gathering capabilities, fire capabilities and are defending the sector with increased forces," said Brig.-Gen. Amit Fisher, Commander of the 210th Division.
According to Fisher, IDF troops "are operating overtly and covertly to locate the enemy, force them away from the border and ensure security near the border."
Last week, Syrian media reported that the IDF shelled Hader, and a similar incident occurred on February 11 with local Syrian media reporting that the IDF shelled a position in the city of Quneitra.
Prime Minister and Defense Minister Benjamin Netanyahu later admitted that the IDF had struck positions in Syria’s Quneitra district in February, stating that Israel is "operating every day, including yesterday, against Iran and its attempts to establish its presence in the area."
Senior officials later admitted that the shelling targeted Iranian-backed Shi’ite who were trying to set up a base of operations near the Israeli Golan Heights.
Israel captured the Golan Heights, some 1,200 square kilometers, from Syria during the Six Day War in 1967 and unilaterally annexed it in 1981. The 1974 ceasefire accord signed following the Yom Kippur War the previous year established a buffer zone between the two enemy countries. It was patrolled by UN troops until peacekeepers were by Syrian rebels 2014.
Syrian troops recaptured southern Syria seven years after losing the area to rebel groups and returned to its positions along with Hezbollah operatives. Both UN peacekeepers and Russian military police have been deployed along the Golan Heights border.
"We hold the Syrian Regime as the sovereign its territory and expect it to honor the terms of the 1974 Separation of Forces Agreement," the military said on Tuesday, adding that "we expect it to prevent any hostile elements, including Hezbollah, from operating out of its territory. The IDF will not allow any attempt by Hezbollah to entrench itself near the border and we will act with all our might to force this terrorist organization out of the Golan Heights and ensure the stability of the region."
After Hezbollah cell in Syria exposed, PM says it’s the ‘tip of the iceberg’
[IsraelTimes] Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a warning to Iran and Hezbollah that "Israel knows what you’re doing, Israel knows where you’re doing it," hours after Israel announced it had uncovered a terror cell in the Syrian Golan Heights.
The Hezbollah cell is "just the tip of the iceberg," Netanyahu, who also serves as defense minister, said on Wednesday.
"This morning Israel exposed a Hezbollah terror network on the Golan Heights. Hezbollah is a terror organization. It’s a proxy of Iran. It does Iran’s bidding and this terror network is part of Iran’s aggression against Israel," Netanyahu said in a video statement.
"So I have a clear message for Iran and for Hezbollah," he added. "Israel knows what you’re doing, Israel knows where you’re doing it. What we’ve uncovered today is just the tip of the iceberg. We know a lot more."
He warned: “Israel will continue to do all that’s necessary to defend itself. We will continue to use all means, overt and covert, to block Iran’s effort to use Syria, Lebanon and Gaza as forward bases for attacking Israel.”
|Iran’s ‘Road To The Sea’ Exposed On Golan|
|[Jpost] Hezbollah’s role in Syria is part of larger network of Iranian-backed groups seeking to threaten Israel and to create a corridor of Iranian influence across Iraq and Syria.|
The threat posed by Hezbollah and Ali Musa Daqduq, a senior operative in Hezbollah, was unmasked by Israel on Wednesday.
Daqduq was responsible for the "abduction and execution of five American servicemen in Iraq in 2007," the IDF said. The role of Hezbollah members in neighboring states is an illustration of how groups allied with Iran are continuing to build a web linking Tehran to Beirut via a "road to the sea" that transits Iraq and Syria.
|Treasury adds Hezbollah leader who was in US custody last year to terrorism list|
|The Treasury Department added a Hezbollah leader who was in the US military's custody until late last year to the list of Specially Designated Global Terrorists. Mussa Ali Daqduq, the Hezbollah leader who was responsible for molding the Iranian-backed Shia terror groups into potent fighting forces and who also was involved in the murder of US soldiers, was released to Iraqi custody in December 2011 and freed late last week.|
Treasury added Daqduq to the list of global terrorists today. The Iraqi government freed Daqduq on Thursday, saying it had no reason to keep in custody. An Iraqi court had dismissed terrorism charges against him in May. After his release, Daqduq promptly flew to Hezbollah's home base in Lebanon, according to his lawyer.
When the US transferred Daqduq to Iraqi custody last December, White House National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor said that Iraqi officials assured the US they would prosecute Daqduq. The Obama administration refused to transfer Daqduq to Guantanamo Bay for a military trial, while members of Congress said they would block administration attempts to transfer Daqduq to the US for a trial in federal court.
Daqduq's designation is both tragic and ironic as he was in US custody a mere 11 months ago. Before his release it was well known that he has been involved with Hezbollah since 1983. He served as the head of Hezbollah's special forces, as well as the commander of Hezbollah emir Hassan Nasrallah's bodyguard, before being assigned to help kill US troops in Iraq.
According to Treasury: "In approximately 2005, Iran asked Hezbollah to form a group to train Iraqis to fight Coalition Forces in Iraq. In response, Hassan Nasrallah established a covert Hezbollah unit to train and advise Iraqi militants in Jaish al Mahdi (JAM) [or Mahdi Army] and JAM Special Groups, now known as Asaib Ahl al Haq [League of the Righteous]," a Mahdi Army faction.
"As of 2006, Daqduq had been ordered by Hezbollah to work with IRGC-QF [Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps-Qods Force] to provide training and equipment to JAM Special Groups to augment their ability to inflict damage against US troops," Treasury stated.
Daqduq has been linked to one of the most high-profile attacks in Iraq in 2007, in which five US troops at the Karbala Joint Provincial Coordination Center were captured and subsequently executed.
|Iraq frees Hezbollah commander who helped mold Shia terror groups|
|Iraq has freed Musa Ali Daduq, the senior Hezbollah commander who was tasked by Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps-Qods Force (IRGC-QF) to mold Shia terror groups into a Hezbollah-like entity. Daqduq was involved in the murder of five US soldiers in 2007. The US government transferred Daqduq to Iraqi custody in December 2011. |
Daqduq was freed by Iraqi authorities last night and transferred to Lebanon, his lawyer told Reuters.
"There was no reason for his detention. Last night the decision was made to release him. He is out now and arrived in Beirut two hours ago," Daqduq's lawyer told Reuters. "There are no charges against him in Iraq. His detention was political, not legal."
Daqduq's release from Iraqi custody has been foreshadowed for months. In May, an Iraqi court ordered him to be released from custody, but Daqduq remained in prison while his case was appealed. In June, the US requested that Iraq extradite Daqduq so he could be tried in an American federal court. In August, an Iraqi court blocked his extradition to the US.
When the US transferred Daqduq to Iraqi custody last December, White House National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor said that Iraqi officials assured the US they would prosecute Daqduq.
At the time of Daqduq's release from US custody, American officials said that they feared the Iraqi government would be pressured by Iran and Shia political parties to free him outright. The US Department of Justice had planned to prosecute Daqduq in a US court, but Republican Senators opposed the transfer of the terrorist to US soil for prosecution. Some wanted Daqduq to be tried by a military court at Guantanamo Bay, but the Obama administration has refused to allow the transfer of terrorists to the prison and instead has sought to close it.
|Hizbullah Man Wanted by U.S. Freed from Iraq Custody|
|[An Nahar] The lawyer for a Hizbullah commander wanted by the United States said his client has been released from Iraqi custody and has been flown to the Beirut.|
Lawyer Abdul-Mahdi al-Mitairi said Ali Moussa Daqdouq was released on Friday from house arrest in the Iraqi capital, Storied . The lawyer did not provide further information in an email sent to The .
an Iraqi official told Agence Presse on condiiton of anonymity that "the judiciary decided to release Ali Moussa Daqdouq due to a lack of sufficient evidence," adding that Daqdouq is now in .
The U.S believes Daqduq was the of a 2007 raid on an American military base in the Iraqi holy Shiite city of Karbala that killed five U.S. soldiers.
|-Lurid Crime Tales-|
|Executioner of Captured American Troops to Be Set Free Thanks To Obama|
|An Iraqi court has rejected a request to send a Hezbollah commander to the United States for trial. Ali Mussa Daqduq, a Lebanese militant, has been held in Iraq for the 2007 killings of five American soldiers, four of whom were captured, tortured and shot execution-style. But now the Iraqi central criminal court has ordered that Daqduq be freed immediately. The Court stated:|
It is not possible to hand [Daqduq] over because the charges were dropped in the same case. Therefore, the court decided to reject the request to hand [him] over to the U.S. judiciary authorities, and to release him immediately.
|US asks Iraq to extradite Hezbollah suspect|
|The United States has formally asked Iraq to extradite a suspected Hezbollah operative accused of killing American troops, a U.S. official told Reuters, amid heightened concerns in Washington that he may go free.|
It was not immediately clear when the request was filed and Iraqi officials approached by Reuters denied knowledge of it, casting doubt on whether an extradition was seriously being considered at this point in Baghdad.
The fate of Ali Mussa Daqduq has been vexing American officials since last December, when the United States was forced to hand him over to Baghdad after failing to secure a custody deal ahead of the U.S. military's withdrawal from the country.
|Iraqi court orders release of Hezbollah prisoner|
|A court in Iraq found a Hezbollah commander accused of killing U.S. troops in 2007 not guilty for lack of evidence and ruled that he be set free.|
Terror experts have said Daqduq, a Lebanese commander for Hezbollah, is among "the worst of the worst"
Daqduq was caught in late 2007 and held in U.S. custody in Iraq as authorities tried to decide where to charge him. When the American military withdrew from Iraq late in December, U.S. officials were forced to hand over Daqduq to Iraqi authorities.
Too bad he didn't die of 'acute cirrhosis' while in custody...
|Iraq lawyer predicts Hezbollah prisoner to go free|
|A Hezbollah commander accused of targeting U.S. soldiers in Iraq may be released from prison within weeks, his lawyer predicted Wednesday, claiming that flimsy American evidence has kept his client behind bars for nearly five years.|
Daqduq's attorney, Abdul-Mahdi al-Mitairi, said he expects Iraqi courts to agree that there is not enough evidence to keep him in prison.
"Legally, the investigation judge should have already released him for a lack of evidence, but he was under pressure from the Americans," al-Mitairi said in an interview Wednesday with The Associated Press.
"Now we are waiting for the case to be transferred to a criminal court in the coming few weeks, and I think he will be released after the first trial session," al-Mitairi said.
Daqduq is a Lebanese commander for Hezbollah, a Shiite militant group linked to numerous deadly attacks. U.S. officials say he trained Shiite militias in Iraq and helped plot the 2007 killing of four American soldiers in the holy city of Karbala, about 90 kilometers (55 miles) south of Baghdad.
Daqduq was captured later that year and held in U.S. custody in Iraq as officials tried to decide where to charge him. When the American military left Iraq late last December, U.S. officials were forced to hand over Daqduq to Iraqi authorities -- despite fears in Washington that he would be quietly freed by the Shiite-led government in Baghdad.
|Iraq: US hands over detainees save Hezbollah agent|
|The U.S. handed over all of the remaining detainees in U.S. custody in Iraq Tuesday, except for a Lebanese Hezbollah commander linked to the death of four American troops, Iraqi and American officials said.|
The prisoner transfer marks another step toward the American military's withdrawal from Iraq, as it plans for all U.S. troops to be out of the country by the end of this year.
It still leaves the contentious issue of what to do with a prisoner that many in the U.S. worry will walk free if he's handed over to the Iraqi government.
This is exactly why we have Gitmo...
Iraqi Deputy Justice Minister Busho Ibrahim said 37 detainees were transferred to Iraqi custody Tuesday morning.
A U.S. military official confirmed all the remaining prisoners were transferred with the exception of Hezbollah operative Ali Mussa Daqduq, who he said is still in American custody while the U.S. weighs his situation.
The official spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the issue.
|'Hizbullah Commander' Arrested in Iraq Could Get Military Tribunal in U.S.|
|[An Nahar] The is considering a military trial in the United States for a Hizbullah commander now in Iraq, U.S. counterterrorism officials said, previewing a potential prosecution strategy that has failed before but may offer a solution to a difficult legal problem for the government.|
While the U.S. hasn't made a decision, officials said a tribunal at a U.S. military base may be the best way to deal with Daqduq target=_blank>Ali Mussa Daqduq, who was captured in Iraq in 2007. He has been linked to the Iranian government and a brazen raid in which four American soldiers were and killed in the Iraqi holy city of Karbala in 2007.
No military commission has been held on U.S. soil since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. President George Bush tried holding a few suspected at military bases inside the U.S., but each detainee ultimately was released or transferred to civilian courts.
President has said that, because of changes to the military commissions that give prisoners more rights, he supports them as an option in the fight against terrorism.
But a tribunal for Daqduq probably would draw criticism from both liberals, who say a civilian court should be used, and conservatives, who don't want suspected brought to the U.S. regardless of the venue.
The Bush administration had planned to prosecute Daqduq in an American civilian court. To prepare for that, intelligence officials questioned Daqduq, then had the FBI restart the interrogation from scratch so his answers would be admissible in court.
In a twist of political irony, however, that plan has been effectively scuttled because of opposition from Bush's own Republican Party.
A decision must be made soon. Daqduq is among a few of the remaining U.S. prisoners who, under a 2008 agreement between Washington and Storied , must be transferred to Iraqi custody by the end of 2011. U.S. officials fear that if he is turned over to Iraq, he will simply walk free.