Egypt-Hezbollah Tensions Growing

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A major Hezbollah terror cell has been broken up and it could have huge ramifications for the Middle East.

Egyptian authorities recently arrested 25 Hezbollah operatives. They're accused of planning to carry out attacks on Egyptian soil.

According to Egyptian media outlets, Israeli tourists in the Sinai peninsula were among Hezbollah's targets. Other reports suggest that the cell was planning suicide bombings in the Israeli city of Tel Aviv.

Does Iran Have More Planned Than Just The Destruction of Israel?

Hezbollah's leader, Hassan Nasrallah, says the group had no plans to conduct strikes in Egypt. Iran--which trains, funds and controls Hezbollah--says the same. But Israeli embassy spokesman Jonathan Peled told CBN News that the arrests show that Iran has designs in the region that go far beyond the destruction of Israel.

"Iran today is a very dangerous player that is trying to export its revolution and its radical ideas through terrorism and through its proxies, whether it's by Hezbollah or Hamas," he said.

"I think there is growing understanding now between most of the Arab countries that Iran is undermining any kind of efforts for peace," Peled added.

Tensions between Egypt and the Iran-Hezbollah axis were already high due to Egypt's unwillingness to open its border with Gaza during Israel's conflict with Hamas there earlier this year.

Could Egypt Be Hezbollah's Next Target?

Now, with these latest developments, Egypt may have to worry about a retaliatory strike by Hezbollah, with Iranian backing.

If there is any positive news in all this, it's that Egypt-Israeli relations and cooperation could be strengthened. The Hezbollah arrests were just part of a larger, developing Middle East cold war, with Iran, Hezbollah, Hamas and Syria on one side, and Israel and Western-friendly Arab regimes like Egypt and Jordan on the other.

Rest assured, if Iran acquires nuclear weapons, these more moderate Arab states will make a mad dash to get nukes of their own. And in the wake of these high profile Hezbollah arrests on Egyptain soil, Israel has to be saying, "I told you so."

The arrests show the world that the Iran problem goes far beyond Israel and affects the stability and security of the entire region.

*Originally aired April 21, 2009

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Erick Stakelbeck

Erick Stakelbeck

CBN News Terrorism Analyst

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