Former Lebanese prime minister Fouad Siniora on Sunday added to the growing criticism of Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah, whom he said put Lebanese citizens at risk by sending an Iranian-made drone into Israel earlier this month.
Sending the drone was not a Lebanese decision and Nasrallah had acted unilaterally at Iran’s behest, Siniora said in a statement.
“We are proud of any triumph against the Israeli enemy, however Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah hasn’t consulted the Lebanese state about sending a drone over Israel,” said Siniora.
The former prime minister warned that such behavior could drag Lebanon into a military conflict with Israel, thereby endangering the lives of the Lebanese people. “Nasrallah hasn’t asked the Lebanese if they are prepared to get engaged in such battle or into a war against Israel,” he said.
Siniora’s moderate Future bloc has sparred with Hezbollah of late, particularly over the militant group’s involvement in the Syrian conflict.
Lebanese president Michel Suleiman similarly criticized Hezbollah for what he considered to be reckless action on its part.
“The act of sending a drone over the land of the Israeli enemy demonstrates the need to adopt a defensive strategy that will regulate the ability of the resistance [Hezbollah] to defend Lebanon,” Suleiman said. “A decision-making process must be formulated that will use this ability in accordance with the army’s plans and its defense needs.”
On Thursday, Nasrallah boasted of Hezbollah’s responsibility for sending the drone, which he claimed was Iranian-made.
Former prime minister Saed Hariri also criticized Hezbollah for the move, calling it an “uncalculated adventure,” Lebanon’s Daily Star reported.
““During these delicate hours in the region, all loyal Lebanese and those who oppose endangering Lebanon’s national interests … should bear their historic responsibilities so that everyone realizes once and for all that Lebanon is not a unmanned drone,” he said.
Hezbollah, a militant Shiite organization, is a member of Lebanon’s governing coalition. It fought a war with Israel in 2006 and controls wide swath’s of the south of the country.
Elhanan Miller contributed to this report.