Israel Warns Lebanon to Curb Hezbollah Threats

Lebanese government responsible for preventing any terrorist attack against Israel, Minister Steinitz says.

Jack Khoury
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Jack Khoury

Israel is taking "very seriously" Hezbollah's threats of retaliation for an alleged Israeli air strike that hit one of its bases near the Lebanon-Syria, Lebanese security sources told the country's Annahar newspaper.

According to the report, Israel also relayed a message to the Lebanese government and army, by way of UNIFIL, the United Nations force in Lebanon, that the entire country would come under fire if Hezbollah acts on its threat to strike Israel.

Meanwhile, the Lebanese government filed a complaint with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the UN Security Council, claiming that Israel violated both its sovereignty and UN Resolution 1701, aimed at ending the conflict between Israel and Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Israel has neither confirmed nor denied carrying out Monday's strike on the Hezbollah site along the Lebanon-Syrian border, in keeping with its silence on at least three such attacks over the past year targeting suspected Hezbollah-bound convoys of advanced weapons from civil war-torn Syria.

In an unusually forthright public statement about the incident, Hezbollah said on Wednesday it would "choose the time and place and the proper way to respond" against Israel, with which it fought a war in southern Lebanon in 2006.

Israel has frequently promised to target Lebanon at large in any new conflict, noting that Hezbollah, an Iranian-backed Shi'ite Muslim militia, had politicians in the Beirut government.

"It is self-evident that we see Lebanon as responsible for any attack on Israel from the territory of Lebanon," Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz said on Friday.

"It is the duty of the Lebanese government to prevent any terrorist attack - whether a terrorist or missile attack, or any other kind - on the State of Israel," he told Israel Radio.

Israeli analysts have been mostly dismissive of Hezbollah's threat this week, arguing that its fighters were too busy helping Syrian President Bashar Assad battle a three-year-old rebellion to open up a new front with Israel.

Hezbollah fighters march in a parade, Feb. 14, 2014.Credit: AP

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