Syrian rebels abduct 5 top Hizballah officers, including Nasrallah’s nephew

DEBKAfile Exclusive Report June 1, 2012, 6:11 PM (GMT+02:00)

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HIzballah security chief Wafiq Safa married to Nasrallah’s sister

The Lebanese Shiite Hizballah, after a 25-year record of kidnap and murder against Israelis, Americans and other Westerners, was dismayed to find the shoe on the other foot this week when Syrian rebels, including members of the Syrian Free Army, announced they were holding two separate groups of its members.
The first group of eleven was captured May 22 in a bus heading home through Aleppo from a pilgrimage to Iran. The second episode sent shock waves rolling as far as Tehran and the Al Qods Brigades command. debkafile’s military and intelligence sources reveal that still unidentified commandos, guided apparently by precise intelligence, this week commandeered a Hizballah vehicle driving through Syria and captured five top-ranking Hizballah officers. A sixth escaped. Upon reaching Beirut, he reported the officers were being held hostage by the SFA.
Despite the veil of secrecy clamped down on the episode, debkafile exclusively names the kidnapped officers as Ali Safa, a senior officer of Hizballah’s intelligence service and nephew of Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah. (His father Wafiq Safa, head of the organization’s internal security agency, is married to Nasrallah’s sister.)

The abducted party also included Hussein Hamid, Dep. Commander of Hizballah forces in South Lebanon;  Ali Zerayb, member of the Hizballah Jihad Council – the equivalent of its general command; Hassan Arzouni, chief of intelligence in the Bint Jbeil district bordering on Israel; and Aras Shoeib, head of training in the Beqaa Valley of E. Lebanon.

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Lebanese coalition collapses in turmoil over probe

Lebanese coalition collapses in turmoil over probe

Move sparks fear of civil war

A covered statue of slain Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri stands in Beirut. Eleven of 30 Lebanese Cabinet members, all supporters of Hezbollah, resigned Wednesday, sinking the coalition government after months of disagreement over how to respond to a U.N. probe into the assassination. (Associated Press)

By Shaun Waterman

The Washington Times

8:36 p.m., Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Lebanon‘s year-old coalition government collapsed Wednesday amid fears that a United Nations report into the 2005 assassination of the country’s prime minister will trigger a new civil war and plunge the Middle East into another conflict.

“We may well be seeing the opening moves of the next Middle East war,” said Bruce Riedel, a veteran U.S. national security official who is now a Middle East scholar at the Brookings Institution.

The government in Beirut fell after 11 of 30 Cabinet ministers, all supporters of the Hezbollah-backed March 8 bloc, resigned – the culmination of a long tussle with other elements of the coalition over how to respond to a U.N. special tribunal investigating the killing. Hezbollah, a Shiite extremist group backed by Iran and Syria that the United States has designated a terrorist organization, is a legal political party with a large parliamentary caucus in Lebanon. Following inconclusive elections in 2009 and months of haggling, Hezbollah and its allies joined a unity government in Beirut. Continue reading