The Iranian-backed Hezbollah terrorist organization reassured the Beirut government last week it would use “wisdom” in attacking Israel and take Lebanon into consideration. Israel calmly beefed up military forces in the north and flew sorties over southern Lebanon.
Sunni Future Movement parliamentarian Ahmad Fatfat told the Elnashra news agency last week, “Fears of war between Hezbollah and Israel exist after [Hezbollah] showed no concern [for] the Lebanese interests as it implements an Iranian agenda.”
The secular party’s lawmaker made his remark in reference to a public vow by Iranian officials to avenge the death of a general from the elite Iranian Revolutional Guards unit. Hezbollah has long been serving as Iran’s proxy in Lebanon. The Iranian officer was killed last week with five others in his unit and six Hezbollah terrorists, including three commanders, when their convoy was attacked near Quneitra in Syria, in an airstrike attributed to Israel.
The IDF has not confirmed the attack.
“Hezbollah has not only the courage [to stand up to Israel] but also a high degree of wisdom,” said Lebanese government minister Muhammad Fneish. Also a member of Hezbollah, Fneish continued, “Whenever the response will come, Lebanon’s interests will be taken into consideration before anything,” he added, according to the Saturday edition of Kuwaiti daily “Al Anba’a.”
Fneish’s comments and the Al Anba’a article were translated Saturday by the Hebrew-language news website, Mako.
Also on Saturday, Israeli warplanes flew sorties over southern Lebanon and in the Beka’a Valley, according to Lebanese media. The move was part of a general military buildup by Israeli forces in the north.
On Friday, the Israel Defense Forces moved a number of troops up to the northern border area and security briefings were held at Northern Command headquarters in Tzefat.
Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon met at headquarters with Command Chief Maj.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi, Operations Branch head Maj.-Gen. Yoav Har Ev, and other senior command officers.
Ya’alon told reporters following the meeting that Israel will not tolerate attempts to harm its citizens. The IDF would respond “with force against any such attempt,” Ya’alon said.
Hana Levi Julian