Lebanese PM blasts Hezbollah over media tour

Lebanese Prime Minister criticizes Hezbollah after it organizes media tour of the country's demarcation line with Israel.

Elad Benari, Canada,

Saad Hariri
Saad Hariri
Reuters

Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri on Friday criticized Hezbollah, after the terror group organized a media tour of the country's demarcation line with Israel.

Speaking from the town of Naqura in Lebanon's far south and quoted by AFP, Hariri said, "What happened yesterday is something that we, as a government, are not concerned with and do not accept".

His comments and his trip to the south came a day after Hezbollah took a group of over 100 local and international journalists on a rare tour of the border area.

Members of the terror group stood guard on part of the tour, displaying weapons despite an official prohibition on any armed paramilitary presence so close to the demarcation line.

Hariri, who was accompanied by the defense minister and army chief, said his trip was intended "to tell the Lebanese armed forces that they and only they are the legitimate force in charge of defending our borders".

The move by Hezbollah comes amid rising speculation about a new conflict between the group and Israel. The sides fought a 34-day war in 2006.

Hezbollah has continuously threatened Israel. The group’s leader, Hassan Nasrallah, recently said the group's rockets had the ability to strike the nuclear reactor at Dimona and its military infrastructure, as well as the Haifa ammonia tank.

He later suggested that Israel “count to one million” before waging a new war on Lebanon.

Hariri on Friday met with the head of the UN peacekeeping force UNIFIL during his visit and urged UN chief Antonio Guterres to "support efforts to secure, as soon as possible, a state of permanent ceasefire".

Hezbollah is a major force in Lebanon, with an arsenal that exceeds even that of the country's armed forces.

It holds parliamentary seats, but is classed by the United States as a "terrorist group" and has sent thousands of fighters to Syria to bolster President Bashar Al-Assad against an uprising.

Hariri's political bloc is now in a government with Hezbollah, despite years of rivalry.

Hariri is the son of former prime minister Rafik Hariri, who was assassinated in 2005, an act blamed on Hezbollah.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)




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