UN official: Arms cache that exploded in Lebanon was Hezbollah's
Security Council discusses Israeli complaints on recent incidents near its northern border; Under-Secretary-General LeRoy says Shiite group responsible for blast at arms cache and subsequent attack on UNIFIL soldiers sent to investigate it
United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Alain LeRoy said Thursday that Hezbollah was responsible for heightened tensions in southern Lebanon.
During a UN Security Council session that discussed Israel's complaints on the recent developments in Lebanon, LeRoy said that the arms cache that exploded in the area last week was used by Hezbollah.
He claimed that the attack on French UNIFIL soldiers sent to investigate the explosion was not carried out by civilians, adding that Hezbollah men were spotted in the area.
Ambassador Alex Wolff, of the US Mission to the UN, said the Shiite group's arms cache constituted a clear violation of UN Resolution 1701, which ended the Second Lebanon War.
Next month the Security Council is set to discuss the extension of UNIFIL's mandate in south Lebanon.
Earlier this week Israeli Ambassador to the UN Gabriela Shalev sent Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Security Council President Ruhakana Rugunda of Uganda stating that the explosion at the Hezbollah weapons cache verified that the Shiite group "consistently obstructs the implementation of Resolution 1701 by building new military infrastructure south of the Litani River."
In the letter, Shalev also mentioned the attack on UNIFIL peacekeepers who attempted to search a suspicious building near the arms cache as an indication that Hezbollah was looking to "obstruct" UNIFIL's mission, also by "using civilians in a violent manner."
Israel is also seeking a similar condemnation of two more incidents that took place over the weekend, namely the infiltration of 15 unarmed Lebanese civilians into Israel and the attack on UN peacekeepers by villagers in Bir el-Salasel.
"Such violations jeopardize the fragile stability along Israel’s northern border and stand in contravention of UN Security Council resolution 1701, in particular paragraph 8 that calls for 'full respect for the Blue Line by both parties'," the letter read.