Peres: Hezbollah turning Lebanon into powderkeg

Hezbollah is turning Lebanon into a powderkeg, Israeli President Shimon Peres charged on Tuesday a day after a blast in southern Lebanon.

“Hezbollah has turned Lebanon into a powderkeg,” Peres said. “It’s not Israel that is endangering Lebanon, but rather Hezbollah, just as Hamas is endangering the Palestinians.”

“There is no reason for Israel not to make peace with Lebanon,” he said, adding that Israel’s northern neighbour “could be, with the help of this peace, the Switzerland of the Middle East. But it’s clear to everyone who is preventing this.”

Peres’s comments to journalists during a visit to northern Israel came a day after a rocket exploded in the home of Abdel Nasser Issa, a Hezbollah official in a village near Lebanon’s coastal city of Tyre.

Local residents told Agence France-Presse that Issa had found the rocket by a river near his home and taken it back to his garage.
He was trying to dismantle the device when it blew up, a security official said.

The Lebanese army and United Nations force stationed in south Lebanon were on Tuesday investigating the reasons behind the explosion.

The Israeli army said the explosion “proves again the presence of weapons forbidden in southern Lebanon” under UN Resolution 1701.

Israel and Hezbollah fought at 34-day war in July-August 2006, which killed more than 1 200 Lebanese, mostly civilians, and more than 160 Israelis, mostly soldiers.

Israel withdrew troops from Lebanon in May 2000, ending a 22-year-presence in the south of the country.—AFP

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