Pompeo Talks to Netanyahu, Lebanon's Hariri, Urges Restraint Following Israeli Strikes in Syria

Lebanese sources say Pompeo 'stressed the need to avoid any escalation and work with all concerned parties to prevent any form of deterioration'

Pompeo speaks at a press conference in Canada, August 22, 2019.
AFP

WASHINGTON  U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke on Sunday with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu following Israel’s attacks against Iranian targets in Syria. Pompeo also spoke with Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri. 

The State Department announced that Pompeo “expressed support for Israel’s right to defend itself from threats posed by the IRGC and to take action to prevent imminent attacks against Israeli assets.”

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In his conversation with Hariri, according to an official Lebanese statement, Pompeo “stressed the need to avoid any escalation and work with all concerned parties to prevent any form of deterioration.” Hariri, for his part, told Pompeo that Israeli activities caused danger to the stability and that they need to stop.

Israel said earlier Sunday that it had thwarted a drone attack by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards' elite Quds Force. Syrian opposition activists reported three deaths in the attack.

The Israeli army said the foiled attack entailed launching several drones at targets in northern Israel.

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah made one of his rare public statements on Sunday afternoon and claimed that Israeli strikes against targets in Syria had actually targeted Hezbollah and not Iran.

Overnight Saturday, Hezbollah claimed two Israeli drones crashed in Beirut.

Nasrallah addressed reports that the drones were attempting to strike the group's communications center in his speech Sunday.The drones were Israeli, the Hezbollah leader charged, and this had been "the first attack since August 14, 2006. This is a violation of the rules of engagement."

Meanwhile, Lebanese television channel Al Mayadeen reported that an unidentified UAV hit two vehicles belonging to Iran-backed Shi'ite militias operating on the Syria-Iraq border.