Hezbollah offended by Israeli accusations
BEIRUTWhile Israel has indicated Hezbollah and Iran were responsible for recent terror activities against Israel, Georgia, India and Thailand to take revenge for one of its killed commanders, Hezbollah says this week’s plots were too small to be its work
A top Israeli counter-terrorism official said Feb. 17 Iran and its Lebanese ally, Hezbollah, were plotting more attacks on Israelis overseas.
The official did not identify specific countries that might be targets, but said Israel has “general information reflecting intent.”
He says Israel drew this conclusion from intelligence reports and findings from investigations into a bomb attack targeting Israeli diplomats in India, and botched attempts in Georgia and Thailand. Israel has blamed Iran for all three attacks, and there has been speculation that Hezbollah acted on behalf of its Iranian patron. Iran and Hezbollah have denied involvement in all three attacks.
The remarks, given during a press briefing, came after Thai security forces raised alertness levels in the country’s international airports and rail system earlier Feb. 17 over what local police are saying is an Israeli warning against new terror attacks. Meanwhile, Thai authorities announced they were searching for two more suspects in the botched bomb plot, including a possible explosives specialist who may have been training the Iranians.
As Israeli accusations continue, Hezbollah’s leader Hassan Nasrallah denied any role in the Feb. 16 plots that apparently targeted Israeli diplomats this week, saying it was an “insult” to believe the Lebanese militant group would avenge the 2008 assassination of its military commander with such small attacks.
The commander, Imad Mughniyeh, was killed in February 2008 when an explosion ripped through his car in Damascus. Hezbollah blamed the attack on Israel, which denied involvement. “[Israeli leaders] know when we avenge martyr Mughniyeh, it will not be [an attack] against soldiers or Israeli diplomats or civilians.
It is insulting for Hezbollah to take revenge for its jihadist commander by killing normal citizens,” Nasrallah said by satellite link, hinting that his group plans to kill senior officials. Israel has accused Iran of being behind a botched bomb plot in Thailand, a bombing in India and an attempted bombing in the former Soviet republic of Georgia this week.
“If we have to choose between unsuitable [but] quick revenge and honorable revenge that will come at a distant time, we choose the second,” the black-turbaned cleric said. Iran has also denied being behind the attacks.