The spiritual leader of the militant the Iranian-backed Hezbollah organization, Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, said Monday that its attacks on the Shaaba Farms "are continuing" despite international pressure.
"It is an open front... even if some do not approve and think it breaches what is the [the UN-drawn border] Blue Line," Nasrallah told a group of Hezbollah students in Beirut's southern suburbs, a clear reference to comments by the United Nations representative in Lebanon, Steffan de Mistura.
Mistura said Sunday that, "we urge the Lebanese authorities to prove with facts what it means to guarantee that the Blue Line does not become a red hot line."
"Who told Mr. de Mistura that the person who is fighting in Shaaba cares if the Blue Line becomes red or brown. This is occupied Lebanese land and it's our right to liberate it," Nasrallah said.
Israel seized the Shaaba Farms, along with neighboring Har Dov, from Syria in the 1967 Six-Day War along with the neighboring Golan Heights.
The area is now claimed by Beirut, with the consent of Damascus. The United Nations, however, says that the Israeli withdrawal from southern Lebanon in May 2000 was complete, and that any negotiations conducted over the area should be between Israel and Syria.
Shepherd injured in Hezbollah strikeA 65-year-old Druze shepherd, from Masadeh in the Golan Heights, was wounded Monday afternoon when Hezbollah guerrillas fired on the Golan Heights.
The group also fired anti-tank missiles and mortars at IDF outposts in Har Dov, on the northern border.
IDF troops returned fire; no soldiers were wounded.
IDF decides on partial call-up for northThe IDF decided late Sunday on a limited draft of senior reserve officers to reinforce soldiers on Israel's northern border after seven soldiers were injured by Hezbollah fire during the day.
Syria and Lebanon said Sunday that they do not control the Shi'ite organization, and rejected demands made by the Bush administration to restrain the group, thereby preventing further escalation on Israel's northern border.
Senior officials in Damascus and Beirut told American officials that they have no control over Hezbollah in the south. Lebanese leaders said they are opposed to any Hezbollah activity now, even at the Shaba Farms. In Damascus, American diplomats were told that Syria is not interested in an escalation "but does not control the situation."
American officials believe Hezbollah recently received a large shipment of arms from Iran and not all the Islamic fundamentalist organization's activities are done with the knowledge of Damascus or have Syrian agreement.
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