IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi expressed concerns over the possible ramifications of the UN investigation into the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.
Ashkenazi, who is visiting Canada, told his hosts Monday that the publication of the probe's findings may result in Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah seizing power in Lebanon.
The IDF chief said a small group within the Lebanese Army is assisting the Shiite group, adding that recent visits by Lebanese PM Saad Hariri and Druze leader Walid Jumblatt to Syria for talks with President Bashar Assad were aimed an ensuring their "survival."
Last week Nasrallah threatened his opposition in Lebanon and the International Court of Justice in The Hague, claiming Israel was behind attempts to charge his group for assassinating Hariri.
Nasrallah also issued a veiled threat against the current Lebanese PM and accused him of assisting the US in hurting Hezbollah.
In a televised speech in honor of the so-called Martyr Day and with rising tensions ahead of the completion of a UN investigation in the backdrop, Nasrallah stressed that "Those who imagine that we will allow the arrest or detention of any of our fighters are mistaken."
"We will cut off the hand that reaches out for any one of them. Those who think that the resistance will not defend itself and its dignity against any accusation are mistaken," he said.
Ashkenazi said the "radical axis" in the Middle East is gaining strength, and praised Canada for training Palestinian security forces in the West Bank.
On Monday the IDF chief is expected to observe a training exercise of Canada's special forces. He is due to arrive in the US later in the week for talks with his American counterpart and senior Obama administration officials.
Roee Nahmias contributed to the report
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