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In Twofold Message…’Hezbollah’ Takes Journalists on Tour to Lebanese-Israeli Border | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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A Hezbollah officer, who identified himself as Ehab, top left, speaks to journalists at the Lebanese-Israeli border near the village of Labbouneh, south Lebanon, Thursday, April 20, 2017. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)

Beirut – In a step seen by some observers as a challenge and an internal and foreign message, “Hezbollah’s” media relations organized on Thursday a field tour for journalists along the southern Lebanese border with Israel, to reveal the fortification works carried out by the Israeli Army in the area.

Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea described the “Hezbollah” tour as a “strategic mistake,” adding that the party “gave the impression that there was no official Lebanese army in the country responsible for the border and the state.”

Worse, Geagea said, “this act also shows that UN Resolution 1701 was no longer valid.”

The LF leader said that amidst “chaos in the region and Israel’s violations in Lebanon, we need to show that Lebanon is respecting UN resolution 1701.”

Geagea also asserted the Lebanese government should ask “Hezbollah” to put terms to such behavior in order to avoid hostile attacks on Lebanon.

For his part, researcher and journalist Ali al-Amin told Asharq Al-Awsat on Thursday: “Hezbollah’s step comes as part of the changes in the international policy towards Lebanon, mainly the US position to pressure Iran and the recent reports about new sanctions currently being prepared against the party.”

Al-Amin said the tour organized by “Hezbollah” embodies “a foreign message more than an internal one, as the party is trying to display Iran’s force in the region, via Hezbollah, which wants to show that despite being busy in Syria’s war, the party is still present and ready to resist Israel.”

During their tour on Thursday, journalists were accompanied by “Hezbollah officials,” including the party’s Media Relations official Mohammad Afif.

The tour kicked off from Naqoura to the Labouna area overlooking several Israeli improvised posts, especially the Hanita post which is equipped with up-to-date monitoring and espionage equipment.

Surprisingly, one of “Hezbollah’s” military leaders also participated in the tour and spoke to reporters on the Israeli objective of these new military constructions.

“The enemy’s construction of new posts and ground barriers, including ditches and earthen barricades, as well as the installation of surveillance apparatuses and equipment, are of defensive nature, a standing dissimilar to the enemy’s military strategy, which was habitually based on an attack character over the past decades,” the military leader said, according to Lebanon’s National News Agency.

NNA also said the tour was coupled with the Israeli enemy army’s mobilization along the border with the occupied Palestine, running armored and infantry patrols amidst pilotless reconnaissance Israeli over flights.