Israel monitoring tension in Lebanon

Nov. 24, 2010 at 11:59 AM
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JERUSALEM, Nov. 24 (UPI) -- Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and his ministers are watching rising tensions in Lebanon and the impact on Israel's northern border, officials said.

The decision to convene the seven-member security forum Wednesday came amid a report linking Hezbollah to the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, the rising tensions in Lebanon and the effect on the security situation along Israel's northern border, Haaretz said Wednesday.

On Tuesday, Netanyahu said Israel is concerned Hezbollah may attempt to take over Lebanon in the wake of a report by the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. this week implicating Hezbollah operatives in the Hariri assassination, the newspaper said.

Israeli military intelligence officials and Foreign Ministry sources estimate despite the escalating tension in Lebanon, neither Hezbollah, the Lebanese nor the Syrian and Iranian governments want the situation to escalate out of control, the paper said.

The CBC report said evidence gathered by Lebanese police and the United Nations strongly indicates the assassins were from Hezbollah.

Capt. Wissam Eid, a Lebanese investigator, identified a number of telephone networks directly and indirectly associated with the hit team responsible for Hariri's death, the report said.

Eid submitted his findings to a U.N. tribunal and met with U.N. investigators before he himself was assassinated in a car bombing in January 2008 after Hezbollah discovered he had agreed to work with U.N. investigators, CBC said.

The CBC report noted shortly before his death Eid had been contacted by Hezbollah, which told him he needed to back off because some of the phones he was tracking were being used by Hezbollah agents conducting a counter-espionage operation against Israel's Mossad spy agency.

Only after his death did Eid's report surface, CBC said, adding the telecom team was certain Eid was killed after Hezbollah learned Eid's report had been found, that he'd met with the U.N. investigators and had agreed to work with them.

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