Israel warns Lebanon over Hezbollah attack

Abdel Raouf Arnaout

JERUSALEM: Israel will hold Lebanon responsible for any future attack by Hezbollah group, Israeli Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan said Monday.

Speaking at a conference of Jewish community in North America, held in Jerusalem, Erdan said Hezbollah is a key member of the Lebanese government.

He called on the U.S. to intervene to prevent Iran from turning Syria into what he described as a “puppet state”.

“If the US chooses not to be a major player in shaping the future of Syria, then others will – and trust me, it won’t be the democratically- elected representatives of the Syrian people. The Islamic Republic [of Iran] will replace the Islamic State, and will try to set up a Syrian Hezbollah made up of Shia militias,” he said.

There was no comment from the Lebanese government or Hezbollah on the minister’s statements.

Israeli officials have accused Iran and Hezbollah of building a precision-rocket factory in Lebanon.

Iran and Hezbollah are key backers of the Bashar al-Assad regime, whose forces have violently cracked down on pro-democracy protests in 2011, triggering a deadly civil war that has killed thousands and displaced millions. (AA)