Lebanon News

Israeli threats to be met with adequate response: Aoun

FILE - Lebanese President Michel Aoun reviewing the honor guard upon his arrival at the presidential palace of Baabda, east of Beirut, October 31, 2016.(The Daily Star/Dalati & Nohra, HO)

BEIRUT: President Michel Aoun on Saturday warned Israel of any attempt to violate Lebanon's sovereignty, vowing an adequate response to any aggression by the Jewish state.

Aoun described a letter by Israeli envoy to the United Nations Dany Dannon as a "threat targeting Lebanon," calling on the international community to remain vigilant to "Israeli aggressive intentions towards" the country.

The Lebanese president made his remarks during talks to his visitors at the Baabda Palace.

"Lebanon that has committed to the U.N. and UNIFIL [working] in south Lebanon sees the Israeli letter to the U.N. as an explicit Israeli attempt to threaten Lebanon's security and stability."

He said that Israel bears the complete responsibility for any attack targeting Lebanon.

"Any Israeli attempt to target Lebanon's sovereignty or put the Lebanese at risk will find an adequate response," Aoun said, according to a statement issued by his press office.

Dannon told the U.N. Security Council Tuesday that Hezbollah now has “more missiles below ground in Lebanon than the European NATO allies have above ground" as he presented recent Israeli intelligence report about Hezbollah arsenal.

Israel and Hezbollah battled to a stalemate during a monthlong war in the summer of 2006. The ensuing conflict killed about 1,200 Lebanese and 160 Israelis before ending in a United Nations-brokered cease-fire.

The Israel-Lebanon border has remained mostly quiet since the 2006 war but there have been sporadic outbursts of violence.

The strong rhetoric between Lebanon and Israel comes few days after Hezbollah leader sayyed Hasan Nasrallah explicitly threatened to target the reactor in the southern Israeli town of Dimona.

“I call on Israel not only to empty out their Ammonia storage tanks in Haifa but to dismantle the Dimona nuclear reactor. The ship that will come through the sea and load the Ammonia to all the areas represents five nuclear bombs,” he said during a fiery speech commemorating Hezbollah’s slain leaders. “Some considered the emptying of the Ammonia tanker in Haifa is an indicator of an imminent war on Lebanon, but we say that it is an indicator of the enemy’s belief in the resistance’s capabilities.”

Israeli Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz said on Thursday that all of Lebanon would be a target if Hezbollah fired on Israel.

Aoun called on Israel to abide by U.N. Security Council resolutions days after Lebanon came under sharp criticism by U.N. officials, who called on Lebanon to respect Security Council resolutions, particularly 1701.

The calls were sparked by Aoun's remarks on Hezbollah's arms as complementary to the Lebanese Army.

"Israel continues to occupy Lebanese territories in the northern part of the Ghajar village, Shabaa farms and Kfar Shuba hills, violates on daily bases the [U.N. marked] Blue Line and Lebanese airspace," Aoun told his visitors.

Israel has occupied the entire village of Ghajar, half of which lies in Lebanese territory and the Shebaa Farms since 2000.

The United Nations has repeatedly urged the Israeli government to withdraw its troops from the village.

Israeli warplanes and patrol boats violate the Lebanese airspace and territorial waters on a near-daily basis.

 

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