An Al-Qaeda affiliated terror group in Lebanon is denying responsibility for last week’s rocket attack on Israel, and they are blaming a group linked to Hezbollah instead. According to The Daily Star, the Abdullah Azzam Brigades accused a group with “ties” to Hezbollah of launching the attack “for the benefit” of the Syria regime and Hezbollah.
The Syrian Bashar al-Assad regime sponsors the Lebanese Hezbollah terror group, but has come under condemnation and sanctions for its ongoing brutal crackdown on dissidents in Syria. Earlier this year the Syrian authorities were accused of supporting a rush on Israel’s borders as a distraction from the regime’s repressive actions.
The Daily Star quoted from a statement from the Abdullah Azzam Brigades which said that “had we been behind this act or any act against the Jews… we would have rushed to claim responsibility.” The Lebanese newspaper said the El-Nashra website had previously reported that the Brigades said they were responsible.
The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) is still investigating the incident as of Tuesday, according to UNIFIL spokesperson Andrea Tenenti. Speaking with The Mideast Update by email, he said said, “UNIFIL, in cooperation with the parties, is currently investigating to determine the facts and circumstances of the incident.
“This was a serious incident in violation of UN Security Council resolution 1701 and clearly directed at undermining stability in the area. It is imperative to identify and apprehend the perpetrators of this attack working in cooperation with the LAF [Lebanese Armed Forces].”
The IDF did not assign blame for the attack in their initial press statement, instead noting that they consider the incident to be “severe” and hold the Lebanese government and army “responsible for preventing any rocket fire at Israel.”
Following the attack, the IDF did target the origins of the rocket launch in response.
The Jerusalem Post reported the IDF said it did not appear that Hezbollah was behind the rocket fire, but the Israeli military was considering the possibility the Lebanese terror group may have intentionally looked the other way instead of preventing the attack.
Last week’s rocket launch was the most serious incident along the border between Israel and Lebanon since a Lebanese cross-border shooting attack in August 2010.
Despite the recent attack, Tenenti pointed out that the recent past in the southern area of Lebanon has been remarkably calm. In his comments to The Mideast Update, he said, “The situation in south Lebanon is calm and stable. Despite some incidents, it is universally acknowledged that the last five years have been the calmest in decades.”
He noted that their mandate is striving to keep the peace. “We have in place a number of security arrangements to prevent unwanted escalation of the situation and to prevent incidents,” said Tenenti. “Our job is to continue our utmost efforts to maintain the general security and stability. We have excellent cooperation with all the parties. We have political commitment and the will of the parties to maintain this area [as] quiet and stable.”
(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, December 6, 2011)