Haaretz (Link) - Barak Ravid (February 3, 2009)
Security services are on high alert due to concrete intelligence that Hezbollah is in advanced stages of preparing an attack against Israelis abroad to avenge the killing of one of the group's top leaders, Imad Mughniyeh, who was killed in a car bomb in Damascus last February.
The Counter-Terrorism Bureau issued a severe travel warning yesterday for Israelis abroad, two weeks ahead of the one-year year anniversary of the assassination.
"Hezbollah appears to be prepared to carry out a serious attack in the form of an assassination or a kidnapping of an Israeli target, including abroad," the bureau said in a statement. "This threatens every Israeli, especially senior figures."
The Counter-Terrorism Bureau, which is based in the Prime Minister's Office, described the threat as "solid and at the highest level."
It also recommends that Israelis not stay in Arab or Muslim countries and advises refusing offers from suspicious or unknown characters, refraining from gathering with friends in crowded areas, and avoiding routine patterns.
Hezbollah is committed to avenging Mughnieyeh's death, but does not want to cause an incident that could lead to renewed fighting with Israel, Military Intelligence chief Amos Yadlin told the cabinet yesterday.
"Hezbollah is still restrained and deterred," he said. "On the other hand, it is committed to carrying out an attack to avenge Mughniyeh, and will try to carry out an attack that will avoid renewed fighting. We are in an especially sensitive period in this context."
Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Israel was "following developments in Hezbollah that are linked to the possibility that they would carry out an attack connected with Mughniyeh."
"The one-year anniversary of this event is approaching," he told the cabinet. "I am not sure that the specific date is binding, and an attack can occur before or after, but there is no doubt that Hezbollah intends to take action."