NY Times: Hezbollah Not Terrorist, Just a 'Military, Political and Social Organization'
I feel safer already: There was an interesting omission from New York Times reporter Michael Slackman's story from Cairo on Tuesday, "Egypt Accuses Hezbollah of Plotting Attacks in Sinai and Arms Smuggling to Gaza."
Slackman managed to write an entire story on the anti-Israel terrorist group Hezbollah without a single mention of the word "terrorism," preferring to euphemize the group as a "military, political and social organization in Lebanon with strong ties to Iran." And it's not the first time the paper has avoided the term.
Egypt released new details on Monday of what it said was a Hezbollah plot to smuggle weapons into the Gaza Strip, to attack Israeli tourist sites in the Sinai Peninsula and to fire on ships in the Suez Canal. Officials said the police were hunting for 10 Lebanese suspects believed to be hiding in the mountainous terrain of central Sinai.
The case gained wide attention after Hezbollah's leader, Hassan Nasrallah, acknowledged on Friday that he had sent an agent to Egypt to organize assistance for the Palestinians in their fight with Israel, and it quickly took on broader regional implications.
Hezbollah is a military, political and social organization in Lebanon with strong ties to Iran, a bloc in Lebanon's Parliament and ministers in the cabinet.
Slackman certainly had enough details to support the use of the T-word. "Explosive belts" is a bit of a giveaway:
On Sunday, an Egyptian cabinet minister of state, Mofeed Shehab, said the Hezbollah agent whom Mr. Nasrallah had called Sami Shihab was actually Muhammad Youssef Mansour. He said Mr. Mansour had traveled to Egypt on two fake passports and had been organizing plans to recruit members, indoctrinate them and send them to Lebanon to train for "hostile operations" inside Egypt.
He said Hezbollah agents had been asked to conduct surveillance of police and military offices and checkpoints, schools and tourist sites, and to e-mail the information to Lebanon. He said they were also supposed to rent a place near the Suez Canal to monitor ship traffic "in preparing for targeting them."
There were many other details, including charges that they had been storing "explosive belts" and had planned to buy a ship to ferry weapons into Egypt, for eventual shipment to Gaza, and to smuggle weapons there through tunnels.