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Hezbollah leader Nasrallah Photo: AFP
Hezbollah leader Nasrallah Photo: AFP
 
IDF patrol along border Photo: AFP
IDF patrol along border Photo: AFP
 
 

Diplomats: Hezbollah 'embarrassed' by arms cache blast

European sources tell Al-Hayat that Shiite group trying to divert global attention away from blast that proved it is violating Resolution 1701 by focusing on IDF activity along border

Roee Nahmias
Published: 07.30.09, 12:33 / Israel News

The recent blast at a Hezbollah arms depot in south Lebanon "embarrassed and destabilized" the Shiite group and prompted it to divert global attention to the IDF's activity along the border, European diplomats told the London-based Arabic language newspaper Al-Hayat.

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"It is only natural that the blast embarrassed Hezbollah because it constituted a clear violation of Security Council Resolution 1701, which states that the area south of the Litani River must be demilitarized, apart from arms belonging to UNIFIL and the Lebanese army," one of the sources told the newspaper.

 

Resolution 1701 ended the war between Israel and Hezbollah in the summer of 2006.

  

"Therefore," added the source, "the Shiite group was forced to take two measures: It diverted attention to renewed activity at an IDF position near the village of Shuba, which is located beyond the Blue Line (the line of withdrawal defined by the UN after Israel's 2000 pullout from Lebanon), and launched a media campaign accusing UNIFIL of pro-Israel bias and of failing to act against Israeli violations of Resolution 1701."

 

Al-Hayat also quoted the European diplomats as saying that the spat between UNIFIL and the residents of the south Lebanon village of Bir el-Salasel has ended.

 

Locals attacked a peacekeeping force that entered the village to investigate the explosion at the Hezbollah weapons depot. A few days later, 15 unarmed Lebanese citizens carrying Hezbollah flags infiltrated Israeli territory.

 

Last week the Lebanese army said it had uncovered a militant Islamist network that had been plotting to carry out attacks against UN peacekeepers in southern Lebanon and against the army itself.

 

Lebanese news agencies reported Tuesday that the Lebanese army raised its level of alert and deployed armored personnel carriers along the border with Israel in the south, in close proximity to an IDF position located near the village of Shuba.

 

According to reports, UNIFIL forces in the area are also being vigilant. Lebanon claimed that Israeli fighter jets have significantly increased their presence in the area and have even infiltrated the country's airspace.

 

Lebanese military officials further claimed that four Israeli tanks have advanced to an IDF position along the border in what they said was a violation of UN resolutions.

 

IDF Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Gabi Ashkenazi denied recent reports of heightened tensions on the northern border. 

 

"We are following closely the activity along the northern border. In general it is quiet, and I am not aware of any winds of war in the region," Ashkenazi said during a visit to the army's recruit center.

 

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