Syria, Hezbollah Deny Link to Attack on UN Force in Lebanon

Denials follow accusation by France FM Juppe following southern Lebanon blast that wounded five French peacekeepers.

Hezbollah and Syria both rejected Monday allegations according to which they had planned and executed an attack on a French UN peacekeeping force in southern Lebanon.

On Friday, a roadside bomb wounded five French peacekeepers in southern Lebanon on Friday, in the third attack this year on United Nations forces deployed near the frontier with Israel.

UN peacekeepers Lebanon - Reuters - 9/12/2011

Referring to the blast on Sunday, French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said he believed Syria was behind the attack, telling RFI radio that France has "strong reason to believe these attacks came from there [Syria]."

When asked if he believed Hezbollah had carried out the attack on behalf of Damascus, Juppe said: "Absolutely. It is Syria's armed wing [in Lebanon]."

However, on Monday Syrian Foreign Ministry spokesman Jihad Makdisi denied his country's involvement in the bombing, adding that "Syria has no link whatsoever with this act which we condemn."

Former Lebanese Premier Saad Hariri, who frequently railed against Syrian involvement in his country and is currently living in Saudi Arabia, also accused the Syrian regime of being behind the attack.

"Another Syrian message," Hariri wrote on Twitter.

Makdisi said remarks by Juppe and others "are part of premeditated French accusations made to mask the reality concerning Syria."

The Syrian official's comment came as Hezbollah also moved to deny the French allegations in a statement on Monday, urging Juppe to "correct his position and pay heed to the seriousness of such accusations which represent a great injustice, and which we completely reject."

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.