Israeli PM Bennett: Lebanese citizens awakening against Hezbollah, Iran
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said that there has been a very important awakening among Lebanese citizens against Hezbollah and Iranian interference in the country.
“Even during the severe economic and political crisis in Lebanon, Iran and Hezbollah are entangling the citizens of Lebanon in a front against Israel,” Bennett said.
Addressing a cabinet briefing on Sunday, Bennett called on the Lebanese government and army to take responsibility for actions taking place in their “backyard”. He said he holds the Lebanese government responsible for recent rocket firings from its territory on Israel, whether Hezbollah launched the weapons or not. He further affirmed that the State of Israel will protect its territory against all elements.
Ahead of the statement, the Israeli PM consulted his defence and military chiefs to take a review of the violent attacks carried out by the Israeli military.
Hezbollah warns of retaliation
His remarks have come a day after Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah warned of retaliation against future Israeli airstrikes on Lebanon.
“Don’t miscalculate by saying that Hezbollah is busy with Lebanon’s problems,” Nasralla had said. We wanted to tell the enemy that any air strike by the Israeli air force on Lebanon will inevitably draw a response, though in a suitable and proportionate way, because we want to serve the purpose of protecting our country,” he said in a televised address.
In recent days, Israel and Lebanon have been engaged in a series of rocket attacks against each other. Last week, Israel launched heavy artillery shelling on Lebanon in response to rocket attacks carried out by Hezbollah from the Lebanese territory. On Thursday, Israel carried out its first airstrike on Lebanese territory in several years, prompting a response from the Hezbollah militant group with rockets fired into Israel.
Hezbollah said the attack was aimed at preventing further escalation, noting that the rockets targeted open grounds near Israeli forces. As per reports, there were no casualties or serious destructions of infrastructure on both sides over the past three days of aerial attacks between Israel and Hezbollah.
Call for restraint
Meanwhile, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called on all sides to exercise restraint and avoid actions that can further heighten tensions in the region and lead to miscalculations between warring parties.
“The Secretary-General calls on all parties to exercise utmost restraint and to actively engage with the liaison and coordination mechanisms of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon,” Guterres’ press office said.
The United States also urged the Lebanese government to prevent Hezbollah from firing rockets into Israel to order to maintain stability in the region.