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Israel Wary Over 'Hezbollisation' of Lebanon Army - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Indonesian U.N. peacekeepers patrol the area near a poster ofHezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, in the southern border villageof Adaisseh, Lebanon, Wednesday, Aug. 4, 2010. (AP)

Indonesian U.N. peacekeepers patrol the area near a poster ofHezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, in the southern border villageof Adaisseh, Lebanon, Wednesday, Aug. 4, 2010. (AP)

JERUSALEM, (AFP) – An Israeli official on Thursday warned of the danger of Hezbollah gaining influence over Lebanon’s army just days after a deadly exchange of fire along the border left four people dead.

“There is a danger of the Hezbollisation of the Lebanese army, if the army begins to behave like Hezbollah,” Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon told public radio referring to the Lebanese Shiite militia group.

“If Hezbollah manages to take control of the army, we will have to treat (the army) in a completely different manner,” he said.

Top Israeli officials have said that Hezbollah was not involved in Tuesday’s deadly exchange of fire with the Lebanese army, and have for the most part sought to play down the confrontation as an isolated incident.

Defence Minister Ehud Barak said the clashes, which killed two Lebanese soldiers and a journalist as well as a senior Israeli officer, were “a very grave provocation” but hastened to add that it was not planned by the Lebanese army.

“Tuesday’s incident was not programmed by the chiefs of staff of the Lebanese army in Beirut or by Hezbollah,” he said on Wednesday.

The Israeli military believes the incident was caused by a radical Lebanese army officer who was not acting on orders from higher-ups, defence experts said.

The flag-draped coffin of Israeli Lieutenant-Colonel in the Reserves Dov Harari, who was killed in a skirmish between the Israeli and Lebanese armies, is lowered during his funeral in Netanya August 4, 2010. (Reuters)

The flag-draped coffin of Israeli Lieutenant-Colonel in the Reserves Dov Harari, who was killed in a skirmish between the Israeli and Lebanese armies, is lowered during his funeral in Netanya August 4, 2010. (Reuters)

The Lebanese flag flutters over wreaths placed on the wall of the targeted Army outpost in al-Adaysseh on the Lebanese-Israeli border on August 4, 2010. (AFP)

The Lebanese flag flutters over wreaths placed on the wall of the targeted Army outpost in al-Adaysseh on the Lebanese-Israeli border on August 4, 2010. (AFP)

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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