`Israel to strike Lebanon if Hezbollah provokes`

Israeli diplomats have been trying, unsuccessfully so far, to get the EU to officially recognise Hezbollah as a terrorist group.

Jerusalem: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu conveyed a message to the Lebanese government, saying the latter would be held responsible for any future attack on Israel by the Hezbollah militant group, local media reported on Monday.

The message was passed along between the countries` leaders through a Western diplomat who met with Netanyahu in the past few weeks, according to a report published by the Ha`aretz daily newspaper.

This means that if Hezbollah fires rockets into Israeli territory or carries any other form of attack, Israel would retaliate and target not only Hezbollah, but also civilian facilities in Lebanon such as infrastructure, power plants, and air and sea ports, as well as government buildings.

"As far as we`re concerned, the Lebanese government is responsible for whatever happens in its jurisdiction," Netanyahu was quoted telling the diplomat by the Ha`aretz daily.

Also, Israel has made preparation for different combat scenarios on several fronts.

Israeli security officials have been outlining a possible scenario in which, following the collapse of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Hezbollah would try to transfer chemical weapons and missiles from Syria.

Both Netanyahu and Defence Minister Ehud Barak took notice of this possibility recently, saying that Israel might attack convoys transferring such arms to Hezbollah.

Another possible scenario is that Hezbollah, a close ally of Iran, would launch rockets into central Israel as retaliation if Israel were to attack Iranian nuclear facilities.

"Israel constitutes only a limited amount of targets," Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah said during a rally held earlier this month.

"Hitting these targets with a limited number of missiles would make the lives of hundreds of thousands of Zionists hell on earth. Tens of thousands would be killed," he said, adding that "if we are attacked, we won’t await anyone’s approval to react”.

Israel and the Hezbollah have fought each other during the 2006 Lebanon war. The conflict resulted in the deaths of over 1,300 Lebanese people and 165 Israelis and it had severely damaged Lebanon’s civil infrastructure.

Israeli diplomats have been trying, unsuccessfully so far, to get the EU to officially recognise Hezbollah as a terrorist group, as the United States did.


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