Liberman confirms rocket attacks intentional and carried out by Hezbollah with Assad’s approval; Calls on Russian forces to “restrain Hezbollah”; Hamas: Iran to support Palestinians in ending “occupation”, Oct. 23, 2017.
Israel’s Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman addressed Saturday morning’s rocket attacks from Syria, reporting that the attack was intentional and carried out by Hezbollah.
Speaking on the incident Monday, Liberman confirmed the attacks were not a spillover, but “deliberate attack by a local cell operated by Hezbollah,” adding that the attacks were carried out with “Assad’s permission, in an attempt to draw us into a conflict.”
Liberman called on the international community to understand why Hezbollah must be removed from the region, calling on Russia forces to “restrain Hezbollah”, reiterating that Assad’s regime as responsible for “everything that happens on Syrian soil-especially when it currently controls 90% of its territory.”
The IDF responded to five rockets fired into Israel from Syria Saturday morning, the media reporting the incident as “spillover”. The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit released a statement on the incidents, “Even if this is just spillover, this is an exceptional incident and the continuance of such events will be met with a more fierce Israeli response. The IDF will not tolerate any attempt to harm the sovereignty of the State of Israel and the security of its residents and views the Syrian regime as responsible for what is happening in its territory.”
The events come following the Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu visit to Israel last week, as well as Iran’s Chief of Staff, Mohammad Bagheri, visit to Syria last week. Bagheri met with President Assad and numerous Syrian Army officials, his visits centered on the Islamic Republic accelerating its efforts through its proxies.
Arab media reported Bagheri as stating that Iran and Syria will have a “joint strategy on continuing coordination and cooperation at the military level,” referring specifically to dealing with “Zionist regime”, adding “We cannot accept a situation where the Zionist entity attacks Syria from the ground and the air.” He was referring to Israel’s covert operations in Syria, more specifically Israeli strikes on a Syrian anti-aircraft battery during a “reconnaissance operation over Lebanon” last Monday.
Directly following his visit, Hamas sent a senior delegation to Tehran to meet with its Iranian counterparts, Hamas. The meetings were centered on the recent Palestinian unity government, Israel and bilateral relations between Hamas and Iran. The delegation was led by Hamas deputy chief Saleh al-Arouri, a known terrorist.
The meetings were held despite Israel’s set condition that Hamas must cut its ties with Tehran for the Palestinians to reenter negotiations with Israel.
Al-Aurori stated following the meetings that “Iran’s support continues and has not stopped despite what has happened in our political relations with it in recent years. The main and primary benefactor supporting the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades in developing their capabilities, whether through knowledge or assistance, is Iran… We hope this support will continue and grow until the resistance will be able to defeat the [Israeli] occupation.”
Photo: Liberman, CC 2017.