Lebanon News

Border blast linked to killing of Hezbollah expert

Hezbollah's deputy leader Sheikh Naim Qassem attends a ceremony in Beirut's southern suburbs, Thursday, Sept. 18, 2014. (The Daily Star/Hasan Shaaban)

BEIRUT: The explosion claimed by Hezbollah which wounded two Israeli soldiers in south Lebanon Tuesday was meant to demonstrate the resistance’s ability to respond to Israeli violations, such as the killing of the party's explosives expert Ali Hasan Haidar last month, Hezbollah's deputy leader said in a televised interview.

“The Shebaa Farms are occupied and it is the right of the resistance to conduct operations to liberate the land,” Sheikh Naim Qassem told OTV.

The south Lebanon explosion was meant to signal that the resistance is ready to fight Israel, despite Hezbollah’s intervention in other regional battle fields, said the party's deputy.

“We wanted to tell Israelis that we are ready and that there is no way they can assault us while we stand by and watch,” he added.

Earlier Tuesday, the brigade of the martyred Ali Hasan Haidar of the Islamic Resistance set off an explosive device under an Israeli patrol in the Shebaa heights, which led to several casualties among the ranks of the occupying soldiers, read a Hezbollah statement published after the incident.

The brigade was named after 25-year-old Ali Hasan Haidar, a Hezbollah explosives expert, who was killed while trying to dismantle four Israeli devices planted on Hezbollah's telecommunications network in Adloun, south Lebanon last month.

One motive behind the attack on Tuesday was linked to the name of the brigade that carried it out, said Qassem, hinting that the incident was retaliation over Haidar’s death.

Nevertheless, Qassem said the resistance was not limiting itself to tit-for-tat attacks, “It is our right to carry out operations against Israel when and where we see fit,” he added.

When asked why Hezbollah swiftly claimed responsibility for the operation, Qassem said that the move was meant to express Hezbollah's readiness to counter any breach carried out by the Israeli army.

In an implicit warning to the Israeli forces, the Hezbollah official said that the resistance was capable of planting explosives in areas monitored by Israeli forces.

“This means that the resistance went from Lebanese territories to occupied territories,” despite heavy Israeli surveillance, said Qassem.

Negating Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s claim that Israeli forces succeeded in foiling a massive attack, Qassem said that the explosion had served its purpose.

In response to a question concerning possible Israeli retaliation, the Hezbollah official said that it was not feasible for Israel to wage a military operation against Lebanon.

“The resistance’s readiness and capabilities makes Israeli forces wary of the consequences,” he said.

Qassem denied that the operation had any link to the war against takfiri terrorists positioned in Lebanon’s outskirts. “This is an operation exclusively targeting Israel, any other party fighting under the banner of Israel like takfiri terrorism, is irrelevant, this has nothing to do with them,” he said.





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