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Thursday, June 19, 2008

Officials: Hezbollah 'Sleeper Cells' Activated In Canada

United States and Canada intelligence officials told ABC News that suspected "sleeper cells" in Canada have been activated and Hezbollah operatives have been tracked outside of Lebanon's base to Canada, Europe and Africa.
A sleeper cell refers to a cell, or isolated grouping of sleeper agents that belong to an intelligence network or organization. The cell "sleeps" (lies dormant) inside a target population until it receives orders or decides to act.

The red flags were originally raised in Canada when approximately 20 suspected Hezbollah members and a suspected four sleeper cells had been activated, one of which is known as "Rashedan".

The family members from these suspected individuals were also instructed to send their families home to Lebanon.

United States and Canada intelligence officials are issuing warnings about mounting attacks being planned by Hezbollah against "Jewish targets" outside of the Middle East.

Officials say Hezbollah is seeking revenge for the February assassination of Hezbollah's military commander, Imad Mugniyah, killed by a car bomb in Damascus, Syria.

The group's leaders blamed Israel, an allegation denied by Israeli officials.

Officials also told ABC News that while there was no credible information about any one specific target, suspected Hezbollah operatives have recently conducted surveillance on the Israeli embassy in Ottawa, Canada as well as several synagogues in Toronto. Latin American is also considered a possible target.

"They want to kill as many people as they can, they want it to be a big splash," said former CIA intelligence officer Bob Baer, who says he met with Hezbollah leaders in Beirut last month.

Intelligence officials also report that the Hezbollah activities are being coordinated with Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards.

They do not believe an attack on U.S. soil is likely according to Baer, because they do not want to give the Bush administration an excuse to attack.

According to the officials that ABC spoke to, Toronto has long been an important fund-raising and organizing city for Hezbollah, even though the government of Canada declared Hezbollah a terror group in 2002, which led to increasing surveillance of suspected members.