Hariri: Hezbollah must disarm
Hariri: Hezbollah must disarm
“The idea ... that Lebanon needs the weapons of the resistance (Hezbollah) in order to face the Israeli threat... is an idea that has expired,” Hariri said, a Sunni leader.
Hezbollah’s weapons “have been shifted from fighting the Israeli enemy to fighting the Syrian people,” Hariri said in a television address from Jeddah where he lives.
Widely considered more powerful than Lebanon’s army, Hezbollah never disarmed at the end of the 1975-1990 civil war on the grounds it was necessary to protect the country against Israeli attacks.
In 2006 it fought a bloody 33-day war against Israel that devastated much of the Shiite-majority south and parts of Beirut.
Hariri charged that the weapons belonging to the powerful Shiite movement were being used “to instill fear into Lebanon’s political life.”
In 2008, Hezbollah fighters seized control of a section of western Beirut during clashes with supporters of Hariri, sparking fears of a new civil war in Lebanon.
Hariri’s remarks come a day after Lebanese President Michel Sleiman said for the first time that Hezbollah’s arsenal should be at the service of the Lebanese state.
On Thursday, Sleiman also said he opposed the Shiite movement’s involvement in the conflict in Syria.
Hariri’s speech also came just hours after Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah made a rare public appearance on Friday at a rally in support of the Palestinians.
Four members of Hezbollah are due to be tried in absentia for the devastating 2005 Beirut seafront bombing that killed billionaire Rafik Hariri and 22 others.
Israel threatens to get tougher on Gaza after warplanes hit Hamas
- Israeli planes initially targeted three Hamas military positions overnight in Gaza in response to kites and balloons carrying incendiary and explosive devices launched into Israel
- The military wings of Hamas and allied militant group Islamic Jihad said they had “targeted seven Israeli military positions near Gaza
GAZA CITY: Israeli warplanes pounded Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip early Wednesday in a new flare-up of hostilities that saw dozens of rockets and mortar shells fired from the Palestinian enclave, the army said.
The strikes targeting Hamas’ military wing, the Ezzedine Al-Qassam Brigades, were more intense than in previous sorties to convey the message “we will not allow this situation to continue,” Israeli military spokesman Jonathan Conricus told reporters.
The latest spike in tensions follows weeks of deadly protests and clashes along the Gaza-Israel border as well as the worst military escalation last month since a 2014 war.
It comes as US President Donald Trump’s special envoy Jason Greenblatt and adviser Jared Kushner visit the region to discuss issues including the Palestinian-Israeli peace process.
Israeli planes initially targeted three Hamas military positions overnight in Gaza in response to kites and balloons carrying incendiary and explosive devices launched into Israel from the Palestinian territory, the army said.
“They may look like toys but I can assure they are not toys, they are weapons intended to kill and to inflict damage,” Conricus said.
He said that so far Israel had sought to warn off those launching the airborne devices but that could change.
“Hamas and other militants, but mainly Hamas” hit back after the first air raids with more than 45 rockets and mortar rounds fired from Gaza toward Israel, seven of which were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system, he added.
Three more landed inside the Jewish state, he said, but did not account for the remainder.
In response, Israeli planes carried out more raids against 25 “terror objectives” including an underground training compound, according to the army.
Gaza medical sources said that five people were lightly injured in the strikes.
In a joint statement, the military wings of Hamas and allied militant group Islamic Jihad said they had “targeted seven Israeli military positions near Gaza... in response to continued Israeli aggression against resistance sites in Gaza.”
Conricus said that most of the 200,000 Israeli civilians who live within range of the short-range rockets fired from Gaza “spent the night in bomb shelters.”