LEBANON – Israeli threats will be met with ‘appropriate response’, president warns
I-24 NEWS – Lebanese President Michel Aoun issued a warning to Israel on Saturday that any attempts to violate Lebanon’s sovereignty would be met with the “appropriate response.”
“Any attempt to hurt Lebanese sovereignty or expose the Lebanese to danger will find the appropriate response,” Aoun said in an official statement released by his office, according to Reuters.
Aoun’s warning came in response to remarks made in a letter sent earlier this week to United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres by Israel’s UN ambassador Danny Danon regarding regarding a statement by the Lebanese leader earlier in the week that the Iranian-backed Hezbollah militant group plays “a complementary role to the Lebanese army” in battling Israel.
The statement from Aoun’s office on Saturday did not offer any details on the referenced Israeli remarks, but said it considered them a “masked attempt to threaten security and stability” in the country’s southern territory.
Aoun had told Egyptian TV network CBC on Sunday that “as long as the Lebanese army is not strong enough to battle Israel … we feel the need for [Hezbollah’s] existence.”
The UN responded to Aoun’s remarks on Monday that Resolution 1701, enacted as part of the ceasefire agreement following the 2006 Israel-Lebanon war, prevents the country from fielding militias such as Hezbollah.
The Iran-backed militia never disarmed after Lebanon’s devastating 1975-90 civil war and is the country’s most powerful armed force.
Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah on Thursday called on Israel to dismantle its Dimona nuclear facility and ammonia storage facility in Haifa, warning that they would be targeted in the group’s next war with Israel.
Israeli Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz said Thursday that all of Lebanon would be a target if Hezbollah fired on Israel.
With its formidable arsenal of missiles trained on the Jewish State, Hezbollah remains the most serious military threat facing Israel, a national security think tank claimed in a report released last month.
Israel’s military believes Hezbollah has between 100,000 and 120,000 short- and medium-range missiles and rockets, as well as several hundred long-range missiles, with the medium-range missiles capable of reaching Tel Aviv.
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