Israel Accuses Hezbollah of Helping Hamas Establish Military Presence in Lebanon

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Masked Hamas gunmen attend a funeral for six of their fighters who were killed in an explosion, Deir el-Balah, central Gaza Strip, May 6, 2018.
Masked Hamas gunmen attend a funeral for six of their fighters who were killed in an explosion, Deir el-Balah, central Gaza Strip, May 6, 2018.Credit: Khalil Hamra/AP

Israel has approached the United Nations Security Council with the accusation that Hezbollah is helping Hamas establish itself in Lebanon with Iran’s backing, Israel's Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon said on Saturday.

"The cooperation between Hezbollah and Hamas crosses borders," Danon said, adding that "the ramifications of the Hamas terror regime in Gaza extend to Lebanon, where they are strengthening their relations with Hezbollah with the approval and support of Iran."

Danon said he made it clear to the UN Security Council "that Israel does not intend to stand still and will do whatever is necessary to protect its citizens."

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Earlier Saturday, the Lebanese newspaper Al Joumhouria reported on Israel's move at the UN, saying Israel claims Hezbollah is promoting a project to build rocket and missile factories for Hamas. The report, based on UN sources, said Israel is accusing Lebanon of a “flagrant violation” of Security Council Resolution 1701, which put an end to the Second Lebanon War in 2006.

The report quotes UN sources as saying that Israel seeks intervention against the cooperation between enemy forces in Lebanon, which it says "crosses a red line" and proves that Iran is interfering via Hezbollah on issues relating to countries in the region, including Israel.

Israel's bid to the Security Council is reportedly supported by material from intelligence services and declarations from heads of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, showing that Iran is trying to turn Lebanon into "a base for anti-Israel fighters from all corners of the world."

Israel also reportedly claims Saleh al-Arouri, the deputy head of Hamas's political bureau, regularly visits Lebanon and often holds meetings with Hezbollah’s leader, Hassan Nasrallah, for military and political coordination. Al-Arouri is reportedly in contact with the head of the Palestinian branch of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Said Izai.

Earlier this week, the Lebanon-based Al-Mayadeen TV said that a Russian force deployed on Syria’s border with Lebanon withdrew and was replaced by Syrian troops.

The TV channel, which has reporters throughout Syria, said the Russian force withdrew Tuesday from the border area on the outskirts of the town of Qusair, a stronghold of the Lebanese Hezbollah group. Russia and the Iran-backed Hezbollah are both fighting alongside Syrian President Bashar Assad’s forces.

The rare deployment of Russian forces near the border came amid repeated Israeli warnings about Iran’s growing military presence in Syria. Israel is widely believed to have been behind an airstrike on Qusair last month that killed and wounded Hezbollah fighters.

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