LIMASSOL, Cyprus -- A Hezbollah operative who worked as a courier for the group in Europe said at his trial Thursday that he had instructions to record the arrival times of passenger flights from Israel to Cyprus, prompting Israel to press the European Union to formally declare the militant group a terrorist organization.
During a cross-examination, Hossam Taleb Yaacoub described himself as "an active member of Hezbollah" with the code name "Wael," and that he had received a salary of $600 a month since 2010. Asked why he had a code name, he answered through an interpreter, "In general, the party is based on secrecy between members. We don't know the real names of our fellow members."
Mr. Yaacoub said that his handler, a shadowy figure known only as Ayman, told him to track the landing times for an Arkia Israel Airlines flight between Tel Aviv and Larnaca, Cyprus. Ayman also asked him to look into the rental prices of warehouses, he said.
Mr. Yaacoub, 24, who holds Lebanese and Swedish passports, described himself as a pawn, following orders but not involved -- or at least not knowingly involved -- in planning an attack. But prosecutors say that is exactly what he was doing. Intelligence experts in the United States and Israel say that Mr. Yaacoub was one small player in the covert war that has pitted Israel against Iran and Hezbollah.
Mr. Yaacoub's testimony, which began here on Wednesday, has provided an unusual look inside the operations of the secretive group. Mr. Yaacoub on Thursday described the weapons training he had received as a member of the group.
But he has denied taking part in a plot to kill Israeli citizens in Cyprus, in an attack similar to the bombing of a bus in Bulgaria last summer that the government there has blamed on Hezbollah.
The prosecutor, Athos Kannaourides, said that Mr. Yaacoub had admitted to police during questioning on July 14 that he had learned to use C-4 explosive. But Mr. Yaacoub denied ever having received such training, saying that the police had added that fact without his knowledge to the statement he signed.
The testimony also provided a glimpse of Hezbollah's tradecraft. During a visit to Cyprus in December 2011, Mr. Yaacoub bought three SIM cards, two for Ayman and one for himself. He bought each of the cards at a different kiosk, which Mr. Kannaourides said was to evade detection.
"You bought the cards at separate kiosks so as not to cause suspicion," Mr. Kannaourides said, "so you could have contact with Hezbollah to prepare a strike against Israelis in Cyprus."
Mr. Yaacoub said that as a member of Hezbollah, he had the right to decline to take part in terrorist operations. "If I was asked to participate in attacks, I had the right to refuse," he said.
He said he did not know how the information he gathered would be used. He was not asked to track buses ferrying Israeli tourists, he said, though he said he wrote down the license plates of two of them using a code.
In written testimony read before the court on Wednesday, Mr. Yaacoub described acting as a courier for the group in Turkey, France and Holland. Mr. Yaacoub said that if Ayman needed to contact him, he sent a text message "about the weather."
"I work for my party," Mr. Yaacoub said. "Whenever they asked me to do something, I delivered."
President Shimon Peres of Israel on Thursday called for European leaders to take action. "The hour has come for every country in the world, and especially the European Union, to add Hezbollah to the list of terror organizations," he said. "It is time to call Hezbollah what it really is -- a murderous terror organization."
Hezbollah has wide fund-raising networks in Europe. France in particular has resisted taking action against Hezbollah out of fear it could further destabilize Lebanon, where the party is an important political actor.
Mr. Yaacoub arrived in the courtroom Thursday wearing handcuffs. After the police removed the restraints, he gently laid a hand on the shoulder of his defense lawyer, Antonis Georgiades. Like the three judges hearing the case and the prosecutor, Mr. Georgiades wore long black robes for the hearing.
On the stand, Mr. Yaacoub said that Hezbollah fund-raising was used for schools and hospitals. He said the group had its own "popular resistance army" separate from the Lebanese army.
Mr. Yaacoub also described the group's military training. He said that he was picked up in vans with the curtains drawn so he would not know where he was going and was driven to open-air training camps.
A typical training class had 10 to 13 people, Mr. Yaacoub said. Instructors taught them to use rocket-propelled grenades of the type RPG-7, the PK series of machine gun and M-16 and AK-47 automatic rifles.
He said that he had several main contacts since joining Hezbollah, the first named Abu Ali. Abu Ali paid for his first trip to Cyprus, though he was confused whether it was in 2008, as he said in his written testimony, or 2009.
Mr. Kannaourides, the prosecutor, said that the trip was intended to help establish Mr. Yaacoub's cover story as a businessman, and that he flew via Dubai using his Swedish passport so as not to arouse suspicions. The flight from Beirut to Larnaca is a 45-minute hop across the Mediterranean Sea. Flying from Dubai to Larnaca takes around four hours. Mr. Yaacoub said that he flew via Dubai because he wanted to visit an electronics market.
He admitted to lying during his initial questioning about tracking the arrival times of the Israeli flight, saying that he was scared and confused after his arrest.
Mr. Kannaourides repeatedly confronted Mr. Yaacoub with passages from the signed statement that he gave to police in July. Mr. Yaacoub said that the police had fabricated or altered certain parts and that he had signed it without reading it. He also said he drew several maps at the insistence of his interrogators, who then said they had discovered the maps at the time of his arrest.
Mr. Yaacoub maintained under questioning that he had no intention of carrying out an attack.
"I did whatever I was asked," he said.
Closing arguments in the case are scheduled for March 7.
Reporting was contributed by Andreas Riris from Limassol, Cyprus, and Jodi Rudoren from Jerusalem.
This article originally appeared in The New York Times.