In Cyprus, Hossam Taleb Yaacoub, a 24-year-old Lebanese-Swedish dual citizen who was arrested on July 7, 2012, admitted in court to being a member of Hezbollah.
Yaacoub denied that he had intended to conduct an attack on Israeli tourists in Cyprus, but admitted to “staking out locations Israelis would frequent and acting as a courier for the group inside the European Union,” according to the New York Times. The Associated Press adds that Yaacoub admitted he had been tasked with “recording flight arrivals and bus routes of Israeli tourists and checking out a hospital parking lot.”
Yaacoub also admitted to partaking in “previous missions with Hezbollah” in the Netherlands, France, and Turkey.
A verdict in the case is due in mid-March, according to the Jerusalem Post. In October 2012, Yaacoub pled not guilty. Cyprus’ Justice Minister has previously said that “some patterns of his [Yaacoub’s] behavior were the same as that of the terrorist in the Bulgarian terrorist attack.”
Today’s news comes just over a fortnight after Bulgaria declared that Hezbollah was responsible for the terror attack in Burgas that killed five Israeli tourists and a Bulgarian national last July.
Immediately following the Burgas attack, the NYPD’s Intelligence Division said Iran has “sharply increased its operational tempo and its willingness to conduct terrorist attacks targeting Israeli interests and the International Jewish community worldwide.” Between May 2011 and July 2012, over 20 attacks tied to Iran and Hezbollah against Israelis and Jews abroad were thwarted. These thwarted attacks, not all of which were publicly reported, took place in Cyprus, Turkey, Kenya, India, Thailand, and Azerbaijan, and elsewhere.