Israel accused Hezbollah on Monday of orchestrating shelling across the Golan Heights frontier in order to stoke Israeli-Syrian fighting, and called on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his big-power ally Russia to curb the Lebanese guerrillas.
Twice last week, mortar rounds or rockets launched from Syria hit areas of the Golan that Israel has held since the 1967 Middle East war, causing no casualties but drawing retaliatory artillery fire against Syrian army posts.
Israel has largely stayed out of the six-year civil war in the neighbouring enemy state, but has threatened to step up strikes if attacked from the Golan or to prevent Assad’s Iranian and Hezbollah reinforcements setting up Syrian garrisons.
Addressing his parliamentary faction, Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman said the Golan shelling was carried out by a Syrian cell on Hezbollah’s orders, without Damascus having been informed.
He did not elaborate on the source of the information.
“There was a personal instruction by (Hezbollah leader Hassan) Nasrallah to compartmentalise Assad and his regime from the execution of this shooting … with the goal of dragging us into the Syrian mire,” Lieberman said in the televised remarks.—Reuters