BEIRUT: Hezbollah’s rocket attacks targeting Israel, that have heightened tensions and dragged Lebanon to the brink of war, were denounced by top politicians on Friday.
The terrorist group’s Friday salvo drew retaliatory fire from the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) into southern Lebanon in a third day of cross-border exchanges.
Samy Gemayel, head of the Lebanese Kataeb Party, said: “We reject the practices of Hezbollah, which implements sectarian and regional agendas that have nothing to do with Lebanon.
“We want a country that has the decision (to make) war and peace, in which arms are confined to the hands of the army, and that respects the decisions of international legitimacy.”
Former Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri said: “The situation is very dangerous and is an unprecedented threat to UN Resolution 1701.”
Hariri warned against “using the south as a platform for regional conflicts which might result in incalculable results and repercussions.
باعتين شاحنة تضرب صواريخ من شويا قرية من قرى حاصبيا والاهالي وقفوا الشاحنة. pic.twitter.com/u18IlbJITg
— Fares Halabi | فارس الحلبي (@FaresHalabi) August 6, 2021
“Lebanon is not part of the Iranian-Israeli clash in the Sea of Oman, and the state is the only entity responsible for protecting its citizens and providing the foundations of sovereignty,” he said.
Samir Geagea, president of the Lebanese Forces party, called the escalation “very dangerous in light of the rising tension in the region.”
He added that playing with fire, in reference to the exchanges, could have disastrous consequences for the Lebanese people.
The Arab League rejected “dragging Lebanon into the conflict between Iran and Israel,” but the Gaza-based militant group Hamas declared its “full support” for Hezbollah’s actions.
Video footage circulated on social media, meanwhile, showed a crowd of people in the village of Chouya protesting against vehicles allegedly carrying rockets passing between their houses, saying it would provoke the IDF “to come and hit us.”
In the footage, the villagers surrounded the vehicles, capturing a truck, a car and those inside, saying they were members of Hezbollah. The confiscated launcher on the truck allegedly had 11 rockets, with some empty shells also recovered.
The Lebanese Army Command said it had arrested four suspects in Chouya suspected of firing rockets, and seized the launcher used in the operation.
Lebanon is grappling with an economic crisis that the World Bank says is one of the world’s worst in over a century.
Despite global pressure, the country’s politicians have so far failed to form a government since the outgoing Cabinet resigned following a deadly blast a year ago at the Port of Beirut.
Israel has been locked in tensions with Iran for several months, with Hezbollah in Lebanon considered a key proxy for Tehran.