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Photo: AP
UNIFIL denies prior knowledge of Hezbollah tour
Hours after Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri visited the border with Israel and declared his opposition to a provocative Hezbollah press tour, UNIFIL claims that the Lebanese government is responsible for the presence of armed terrorists in the area.
UNIFIL is deflecting responsibility and denying prior knowledge of the presence of armed Hezbollah militants along the border with Israel Thursday.

 

 

Hours after Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri visited the border with Israel and declared his opposition to a provocative Hezbollah press tour, UNIFIL claims that the Lebanese government is responsible for the presence of armed terrorists in the area.

 

UNIFIL during Hezbollah's press tour (Photo: AP) (Photo: AP)
UNIFIL during Hezbollah's press tour (Photo: AP)
 

 

UNIFIL issued a statement, saying, "Shortly before the journalists' delegation arrived in the area, the Lebanese army warned UNIFIL that there would be a press tour along the Blue Line, but did not specify any further details.

 

"Regarding reports of the presence of armed men on this tour, this is a violation of Resolution 1701. As decided, Lebanese authorities are responsible for examining the presence of unauthorized elements in the area between the Blue Line and the Litani River."

 

Lebanese PM Saad Hariri meets with UNIFIL official
Lebanese PM Saad Hariri meets with UNIFIL official

 

UNIFIL's statement comes a day after Prime Minister Hariri arrived near the south Lebanon border for a tour of his own, in an attempt to convey the message that the state is the landlord, not Hezbollah.

 

"I started the visit to the headquarters of the UNIFIL force in order to convey the gratitude of the Lebanese people to all the countries that take part in it," said Hariri. "I emphasize that Lebanon is committed to Resolution 1701. As a state, our duty is to protect sovereignty and borders and to maintain security and stability of our citizens in this area.

 

Hariri arrives in south Lebanon
Hariri arrives in south Lebanon

 

"The state and the army belong to all Lebanese. The only agenda is to provide security and stability for all Lebanese. There is no rule in Lebanon over any other regime. These things should be clear to everyone," Hariri said.

 

In response to a question from a journalist about about Hezbollah's media tour, Hariri responded, "What happened yesterday in a certain place is something the government has no interest in and we oppose it. We came here today to say that we are committed to Resolution 1701."

 

(Translated and edited by Fred Goldberg)

 

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