Cyprus jails Hezbollah operative for Israel attacks plot

Hossam Taleb Yaccoub (right). File photo. Yaccoub admitted belonging to Hezbollah, but denied plotting attacks

A Cypriot court has jailed a member of the Lebanese militant Shia movement Hezbollah for three years for plotting to attack Israeli targets there.

Hossam Taleb Yaccoub, a Lebanese Swedish national, admitted collecting information on Israeli tourists, but denied planning to attack them.

The court heard how Hezbollah paid him to carry out six missions since 2011.

Israel says Hezbollah has been behind a string of attacks against Israeli and Jewish targets around the world.

Hezbollah, which has been designated a terrorist organisation by a number of governments, has denied the accusations.

Yaccoub, 24, said he had been asked to record information about Israeli flights arriving on the island, and registration plates of buses carrying tourists from Israel. He said he did not know what the information was intended for.

In convicting Yaccoub, the court in Limassol said: "There is no doubt that these are serious offences because by committing them, at the very least it potentially jeopardised the safety Israeli citizens and targets on the territory of the Cyprus Republic."

Yaccoub was arrested days before a bomb exploded on a bus carrying Israeli tourists at an airport in Bulgaria, killing six people. Israel and Bulgaria accused Hezbollah of carrying out the attack. Hezbollah said it was not involved.

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