Egypt urges end to Israel threats

Egypt has urged Israel to stop making threats against Lebanon, its foreign minister said on a visit to Beirut.

Ahmed Abul Gheit has been holding talks with Lebanese leaders about the rising tensions with Israel.

Israel’s prime minister warned last week that his country would hit all of Lebanon harder than in the 2006 war if Hezbollah guerrillas attacked again.

The Lebanese Shia movement recently joined a national union government in Lebanon ending months of civil strife.

Israeli Environment Minister Gideon Ezra said the entire Lebanese state would be a target if the government “conferred legitimacy on Hezbollah”.

He was echoing similar remarks made by Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Tuesday.

“We reject any threat to the unity and sovereignty of Lebanon… especially from Israel,” Mr Abul Gheit told a news conference.

“Yesterday, we spoke with the Israelis during Defence Minister Ehud Barak’s visit to Egypt, and asked them to stop thinking about threatening this friendly Arab country,” Mr Abul Gheit said.

‘Final victory’

map

Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah vowed on Sunday to destroy Israel if it carried out threats to attack Lebanon.

“If [a war] is to happen as they are threatening, our victory this time will be decisive, unquestionable and final,” Mr Nasrallah said.

Israel and Hezbollah were involved in a month-long conflict in 2006 which left more than 1,200 Lebanese dead, most of them civilians, and more than 160 Israelis dead, mostly soldiers.

Israeli bombardments devastated Hezbollah strongholds in south Lebanon and southern Beirut, but also targeted civilian infrastructure including roads, bridges, the international airport and power stations.

Hezbollah’s more limited firepower hit civilian centres across northern Israel.

“The Lebanese government… must understand that the entire Lebanese state will be a target in the same way that all of Israel is a target for Hezbollah,” Mr Ezra said.

The 2006 conflict started when Hezbollah seized two Israeli soldiers in a deadly cross-border raid.

Check Also

Azerbaijan-Israel relations and Iran’s national security concerns

In 1991, Israel was one of the first countries to recognise the independence of the …