TEL AVIV – A pro-Hezbollah Lebanese newspaper claimed Saturday that American officials warned Beirut that Israel is planning an imminent war against Lebanon.
According to Al Akhbar, U.S. officials were informed by their Israeli counterparts that Saudi Arabia’s decision to cut back Lebanese aid and categorize Hezbollah as a terrorist organization has encouraged Jerusalem to plan an attack against its northern neighbor.
The report stated that the Americans told the Lebanese “not to give Israel an excuse to start a war.”
“Pressure needs to be applied on Hezbollah not to make any mistake that would lead to a replay of the events of 2006,” American sources were purportedly quoted as saying.
In 2006, the Second Lebanon War broke out between Israel and Hezbollah when Hezbollah terrorists kidnapped two Israeli soldiers. The ensuing month-long conflict led to the deaths of scores of Israeli civilians and IDF soldiers, and over 1,000 Lebanese.
The newspaper claimed that Saudi Arabia’s strategic shift vis-à-vis Beirut has “whetted Israel’s appetite” for war with Hezbollah.
Al Akhbar also reported that a German intelligence official met with the Hezbollah leadership in the group’s Beirut headquarters in the wake of the assassination of arch-terrorist Samir Kuntar.
Kuntar, who was behind some of the worst terrorist attacks in Israel – including the death of a four-year-old girl whose head Kuntar smashed on a rock – was killed this past December by a missile strike attributed to the Israeli Air Force.
Although Israel never confirmed that it was behind the operation, Hezbollah vowed to avenge his death by attacking Israel.
Al Akhbar said that the German official petitioned Hezbollah not to retaliate against Israel for the Kuntar killing, fearing the situation could spiral out of control.