It's a story that caused a stir in the Middle East. English language news site al-Arabiya reported yesterday that Hezb'allah big shot Hussein Fahs, the terrorist group's chief financial officer, fled to Israel with " large sum of stolen money, classified documents and maps"
The news website, Now Lebanon, cited Hezbollah officials saying that the 29-year old telecommunication engineer, Hussein Fahs, has crossed to Israel carrying with him $5 million in embezzled money from the group. Fahs is also head of Hezbollah's operational communications network.
In September, Fahs, who is native of southern Lebanon, was arrested along with other four Hezbollah members over the suspicion of embezzling the group's funds and collaborating with Israel, Yoni Alpert's Terror Watch reported. The operation to arrest the five was a collaborative one between Hezbollah and Iranian intelligence. Hezbollah, which has long been a staunch ally to both Iran and Syria, officially became part of the Lebanese government in 2011.
According to Al-Joumhouria newspaper, he was arrested while on his way to an unknown destination by 20 Iranian intelligence officers at Beirut's Hariri Airport. At the time it was suspected that they stole at least $5 million in Iranian aid funds.
But Israel is denying the story:
Israeli officials have denied reports from Al Arabiya that Hezbollah's CFO Hassein Fahs fled to Israel with large sums of embezzled funds, classified documents and maps, Israel Radio reported Saturday.
According to the report, the 29-year old somehow managed to cross into Israel with $5 million in stolen Hezbollah funds as well as various documents after being arrested along with four other members of the terror group on suspicion of theft and collaborating with Israel.
Israel Radio quoted Israeli officials as saying that the report, which was originally published in Lebanese media, was false. The Israeli denial was followed by similar a denial by Hezbollah, according to Israel Radio.
This story didn't track from the start. If Fahs was arrested, how did he escape? It seems very unlikely - unless Mossad helped to bust him out, in which case Israel would naturally deny the incident occurred.
Hezb'allah, which has a reputation as being invincible in Lebanon, also may have reasons to deny the defection.
The story might make a good plot for a novel, but I doubt it's true.