Report: Hezbollah raises alert level along Israel border

Kuwaiti paper says Lebanon-based group believes Israel planning further cross-border action, but not all-out war

File: Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah delivers a speech shown on a screen during a rally in the southern Lebanese town of Nabatiyeh, May 24, 2015.  (AP Photo/Mohammed Zaatari)
File: Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah delivers a speech shown on a screen during a rally in the southern Lebanese town of Nabatiyeh, May 24, 2015. (AP Photo/Mohammed Zaatari)

Lebanon-based Islamist organization Hezbollah has raised its alert level along the border with Israel, Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Rai reported Saturday, “due to Israel’s attempt to drag Syria and Lebanon into a conflict.”

The newspaper cited sources familiar with the matter as saying that the organization believes Israel is planning a significant campaign, but does not want all-out war. According to the sources, the paper said, raising the alert level is a reflection of this belief.

The newspaper also quoted sources as saying that Israel is seeking further action as it feels its existence is threatened by the recent agreement on Iran’s nuclear program, Israel’s Ynet website said.

Israel launched air and artillery strikes into Syria on Friday morning in the wake of a rocket salvo on the Israeli side of the Golan Heights. Six people were killed in an aerial attack on a vehicle, Syrian state television said. Israel said the strike killed the crew that had fired Thursday’s salvo into Israel.

There were no casualties in the rocket fire into Israel, which accused an Islamic Jihad cell of firing the rockets at Iran’s behest. Islamic Jihad denied responsibility for the rocket fire and vowed revenge for Israel’s air assault.

From right, Maj. Gen. Aviv Kochavi, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon on a tour of the northern border, August 18, 2015. (Amos Ben-Gershom/GPO)
From right, Maj. Gen. Aviv Kochavi, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon on a tour of the northern border, August 18, 2015. (Amos Ben-Gershom/GPO)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Friday that despite the strike, Israel had no interest in an escalation.

“We have no intention of ratcheting up this confrontation, but our policy [of retaliating for attacks against Israeli civilians] remains as it was,” he said.

Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said the strike against the cell was proof that Israel will not tolerate efforts to harm the security of its citizens. “We have no intention of compromising on this issue, and I suggest no one test our resolve on this matter,” he said in a brief statement.

The Iranian-backed Hezbollah has dispatched fighters to Syria to support Syrian President Bashar Assad, also under Iranian patronage, as his regime battles opposition forces seeking to oust him.

Ya’alon warned Tuesday that the Golan Heights were likely to see growing conflict, and blamed Iran for any escalation.

“All is not quiet on the Golan front,” Ya’alon said during a tour of the northern border with Netanyahu, IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot and GOC Northern Command Aviv Kochavi. “Those who seek for it not to be quiet are the Iranians, who are trying to send proxies to conduct terror attacks against us.”

Most Popular
read more: