LIMASSOL, Cyprus — In a little-noticed trial in a small courtroom here on Wednesday, a 24-year-old man provided a rare look inside a covert global war between Israel and Iran, admitting that he is an operative of the militant group Hezbollah, for which he acted as a courier in Europe and staked out locations in this port city that Israelis were known to frequent.
Breaking with the group’s ironclad discipline and practiced secrecy, the operative, Hossam Taleb Yaacoub, described being handled by a masked man he knew only as Ayman. He told of doing simple tasks at first: picking up a couple of bags in Lyon, France, taking a cellphone, two SIM cards and a mysterious package wrapped in newspaper from Amsterdam to Lebanon.
When he was arrested last July, he had a small red notebook with the license plate numbers of two buses ferrying Israelis to vacation spots in the vicinity.
And he reminded me of Pinocchio, Joe Isuzu and Tommy Flanagan, the Pathological Liar.He claimed that none of this was related to planning an attack, as prosecutors have charged. One of the plates, LAA-505, reminded him of a Lamborghini sports car, he said, while the other, KWK-663, reminded him of a Kawasaki motorcycle...