Israeli Arab Indicted in Hezbollah Plot to Assassinate Lt. Gen. Ashkenazi
31 August 2009 , 14:58
The Chief of the General Staff speaking to Paratrooper Brigade soldiers
The suspect spied on Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi. The Chief of the General Staff speaking to Paratrooper Brigade soldiers. Archive Photo: Guy Polombo, IDF Spokesperson
Indictment issued against Rawi Fuad Sultani who is suspected to have spied on Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi for Hezbollah

On Monday (Aug 31), a severe indictment was issued at the Petah Tikva District Court, against 23-year-old Rawi Fuad Sultani from Tirah, who was recruited by Hezbollah in order to spy on the IDF Chief of the General Staff, Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi. Sultani was arrested at the beginning of August after an investigation by the Israel Security Agency (ISA) and the Unit for International Investigation of the Israel Police (UII).

The indictment notes that in August 2008, Sultani, together with other young men and women, traveled to Morocco with the Israeli Arab Balad party, in order to participate in a multi-national Arab summer camp, which takes place every year in a different country. The camp was also attended by Salman Harb, a 26-year-old Shi’ite Lebanese Hezbollah terror operative, who befriended the Israeli participants. Salman Harb personally met with the group of young Israelis, introduced himself as a Hezbollah operative, lectured on the “Struggle” and even showed excerpts of a movie on the Second Lebanon War, produced by the Al-Manar Hezbollah television station.

In the course of the investigation, Sultani admitted that during his meetings with Salman, he had informed the operative that he had information on Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi. Sultani kept in touch with the Hezbollah operative through phone conversations and Facebook also after returning from the summer camp.

Sultani’s contact with Hezbollah members did not end at this. In December 2008, Sultani flew to Poland in order to meet with an additional operative of the terror organization, known as Sami. During this meeting, Sultani officially joined Hezbollah and delivered the information he had collected on Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi and the possibilities to harm him, thanks to the fact that Sultani worked out at the same gym as the Chief of the General Staff.

An additional paragraph in the indictment points out that Sultani was asked by Sami to collect information on additional senior IDF officers and IDF bases in Israel. After returning from Poland, Sultani continued his communication with Salman and Sami.

Simultaneously to the investigation on Sultani, the ISA and the UII also questioned other participants of the summer camp, who testified that they had been in touch with Salman during the camp. After they denied still being in touch with Hezbollah operatives and after having been warned of entertaining any further contact with members of the terror organization, the youths were released.

The information gathered during the investigation on Sultani shows Hezbollah’s efforts to recruit Israelis for terror activities. Ever since the death of Imad Mughniyah in February 2008, the organization has been working on an act of reprisal, with senior IDF officers being a preferred target.