In Cyprus Trial, Man Says He Scouted Israeli Targets in Europe for Hezbollah
LIMASSOL, Cyprus A man on trial here admitted Wednesday to being a member of the militant group Hezbollah, staking out locations Israelis would frequent and acting as a courier for the group inside the European Union.
In a little-watched proceeding in a small courtroom here, the defendant, Hossam Taleb Yaacoub, 24, described how he would be picked up in a van to meet with his handler, whom he knew only as Ayman, and used code words to confirm his identity. I never saw the face of Ayman because he was always wearing a mask, Mr. Yaacoub said.
In written testimony read out loud in Greek by his interpreter, the man said that he had not taken part in a plot to target Israeli tourists visiting Cyprus, as prosecutors charge. Even if they asked me to participate in a terrorist action I would refuse. I could never do that, Mr. Yaacoub said. Im only trained to defend Lebanon.
But he was arrested in July with the license plates of buses ferrying Israelis written in a small red notebook. He said that he wrote them down because one of the license numbers, LAA-505, reminded him of a Lamborghini sports car, while the other, KWK-663, reminded him of a Kawasaki motorcycle.