Israel holds Lebanon responsible after border blasts

JERUSALEM (AFP) – Israel reiterated that Lebanon was responsible for maintaining peace along their common border following at least two explosions in 24 hours in the volative region.

“Israel holds Lebanon responsible for what happens on its border,” Defence Minister Shaul Mofaz told public radio, adding that Israel had no interest in escalating tension along its northern border.

“We are following events in Lebanon closely. The Syrians continue to play a certain role despite announcing their troops have withdrawn,” Mofaz added Friday.

On Thursday, an explosion was heard near an Israeli army position in the foothills of Mount Hermon where the borders of Lebanon, Syria, and Israel meet.

The army said the blast may have come from a rocket fired from Lebanon.

Late Wednesday, a rocket fired from southern Lebanon left damage in the industrial area of the Israeli town of Shlomi, five kilometers (three miles) from the Lebanese border, during independence-day celebrations.

Israel said it would lodge a complaint at the United Nations calling on Beirut to disarm all militias following the incident.

Military sources said Wednesday’s rocket was probably fired by a Palestinian group and not Shiite movement Hezbollah.

Israel ended its occupation of southern Lebanon in May 2000 and the militant wing of Shiite movement Hezbollah controls virtually all the area along the Israeli border. Syria pulled its troops out of Lebanon last month.