IDF goes on alert on Lebanese border following Hezbollah threats

 

US Secretary of State Kerry indirectly addresses strike, says US is aware Syria is smuggling weapons to Hezbollah that pose a threat to Israel.

By Yoav Zitun, Yitzhak Benhorin

 

After Hezbollah has threatened to retaliate against Israel for its alleged role in a strike on a weapons convoy en route from Syria to Lebanon, the IDF Northern Command decided Wednesday evening to increase the state of alert for forces stationed along the border with Lebanon, fearing of retaliatory fire.

Golani Reconnaissance keeping their eyes open – Photo courtesy: IDF Spokesperson’s Unit

Farmers whose lands are near the border were also instructed to stay away from the border fence.

The IDF refused comment.

Meanwhile, US Secretary of State John Kerry indirectly addressed the Monday night attack on a weapons convoy en route to Hezbollah in Lebanon that Lebanese reports attributed to Israel.

In an interview with MSNBC, Kerry said the United States was aware that Syria was smuggling weapons to Hezbollah – weapons that pose a threat to Israel.

The American administration is having discussions on what are the next moves to be taken to address the Syrian crisis, and includes Syria’s neighbors – including Israel – in the talks, Kerry said.

According to Kerry, US President Barack Obama was urging him and other administration officials to seek out other options to resolving the Syrian crisis.

“No one is happy with the situation today,” Kerry said. “We all understand that this is a massive humanitarian crisis that puts pressure on Jordan and Lebanon. There are threats of weapons transfer from (Syrian President Bashar) Assad to Hezbollah and this is a threat to Israel. There are challenges in Turkey. All of these states are involved in talks with us about what the next move is. I promise you the administration’s working to enter these discussions and the president is not taking any option off the table.”

Earlier Wednesday, after a day and a half of silence, Hezbollah admitted for the first time that Israel Air Force conducted an attack on the Syrian-Lebanese border. According to Hezbollah, the attack caused damage but there were no fatalities.

“The new aggression is a blatant assault on Lebanon and its sovereignty and its territory…The Resistance (Hezbollah) will choose the time and place and the proper way to respond to it,” a statement on the group’s Al-Manar television station.

Lebanese media reporting on Hezbollah’s statement said reports the attack targeted a weapons convoy were wrong, and denied reports of four fatalities.

On Tuesday night, an Israeli official told TIME that the IDF is the one that conducted the strike in the Beqaa Valley. He stated the convoy that was attacked likely included missiles equipped with warheads more powerful and dangerous than what Hezbollah currently has.

The Herev Battalion is unique in the IDF. It’s fighters are all Druze, all from the same community, and nearly all from the northern Galilee.

On Wednesday morning, security sources told the Lebanese Daily Star that the strike’s target were two trucks – one carrying missiles and the other carrying a missiles launcher. According to the report, the trucks were on their way to Hezbollah missiles storage facility in Lebanon.

At first, the strike was reported to have happened on Lebanese territory, but a Lebanese army official did not rule out the possibility the attack was on Syrian soil.

 

View original Ynet publication at: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4493135,00.html

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