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Israel warns Lebanon to prevent Hezbollah reprisals for airstrike

  • File - Lebanese Army and U.N. peacekeepers patrol along the Blue Line, Thursday, Aug. 29, 2013. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Zaatari)

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM: Israel warned Lebanon Friday to prevent a Hezbollah retaliation for an alleged Israeli airstrike on a site used by the party on the Syrian border.

Israel has neither confirmed nor denied carrying out Monday’s strike, in keeping with its silence on at least three such attacks over the past year targeting suspected Hezbollah-bound convoys of advanced weapons from civil war-torn Syria.

In an unusually forthright public statement about the incident, Hezbollah said Wednesday it would “choose the time and place and the proper way to respond” against Israel, with which it fought a war in south Lebanon in 2006.

Israel has promised to target Lebanon at large in any new conflict, threatening to destroy “thousands” of residential buildings that it claims Hezbollah uses as bases.

“It is self-evident that we see Lebanon as responsible for any attack on Israel from the territory of Lebanon,” Israeli Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz said Friday.

“It is the duty of the Lebanese government to prevent any terrorist attack – whether a terrorist or missile attack, or any other kind – on the state of Israel,” Steinitz told Israel Radio.

Israel is technically at war with Lebanon and Syria.

Israeli analysts have been mostly dismissive of Hezbollah’s threat this week, arguing that its fighters were too busy helping Syrian President Bashar Assad battle a 3-year-old civil war to open up a new front with Israel.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on March 01, 2014, on page 2.
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