Report: Diplomats trying to talk Hezbollah out of taking revenge on Israel for Kuntar killing

Kuwaiti daily 'Al Qabas' cites European sources as saying that "Lebanese officials are aware that the threats made by the Netanyahu government are very serious."

December 26, 2015 09:56
3 minute read.
Nasrallah Kuntar

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah speaking on live television about the death of terrorist Samir Kuntar. (photo credit: screenshot)


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International diplomats are working feverishly with Lebanese officials in an effort to prevent a revenge attack against Israel by Hezbollah following the killing of one of its top commanders in Damascus, Samir Kuntar, earlier this week, according to a report which appeared Saturday in the Kuwaiti daily Al Qabas.

The report cites European sources as saying that “Lebanese officials are aware that the threats made by the Netanyahu government are very serious.”

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In a speech on Monday, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah threatened Israel with revenge over Kuntar’s killing in an air strike in Syria on Saturday.

“Samir is one of us and a commander of our resistance and it is our right to retaliate for his assassination in the place, time and a way we see appropriate. We will exercise this right, God willing,” he said.

“We have no doubt or question that Israel is the one which assassinated Samir Kuntar, its planes fired precise missiles on an apartment [he was in],” Nasrallah said in a speech aired on the group’s al-Manar TV station.

A number of Syrians were also killed in the attack.

“We, in a firm and definite way, hold the Zionist enemy responsible for assassinating him,” Nasrallah said.

“Samir Kuntar’s blood will give the Palestinian youth more determination,” said Nasrallah, according to al-Manar’s website, referring to the ongoing terrorism in Israel.

Israel has warned Hezbollah against attempting any attacks on its soldiers or communities in the North following the Kuntar killing.

“Hezbollah is likely to be more careful because it knows that Israel will respond directly to any incident by entering the Syrian and Lebanese fronts,” the European source was quoted as saying by the Kuwaiti newspaper.

The official speculated that Iran may have ordered Hezbollah to stand down and refrain from responding given the delicate and complex geopolitical situation in the region.

While Jerusalem made no formal comment about Saturday’s killing in Syria of Lebanese Druse terrorist Samir Kuntar, various ministers and MKs were not shy Sunday about expressing their satisfaction, without in any way acknowledging any Israeli responsibility.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who often uses the opening of weekly cabinet meetings to comment on hot topics on the national agenda, made no mention Sunday of Kuntar’s killing.

Hezbollah and Syrian state media accused Israel of assassinating the Hezbollah leader in an air strike in Damascus.

The pro-Hezbollah Lebanese newspapers Al-Akhbar and As-Safir had pictures of Kuntar on their websites. “How will Hezbollah respond to the assassination of Kuntar and when?” read the headline on As-Safir.

“I am not confirming or denying anything to do with this matter,” Construction Minister Yoav Galant told Israel Radio, adding: “It is good that people like Samir Kuntar will not be part of our world.”

National Infrastructure, Energy and Water Minister Yuval Steinitz, however, said on his way to the cabinet meeting that while he usually does not react to “such rumors or reports,” Kuntar was “known to be a very brutal terrorist.”

“He killed a civilian family, including a baby, many years ago and he’s still involved in terrorism,” Steinitz said of the terrorist whose brutal attack in Nahariya in 1979 killed four Israelis, including a four-year old girl. “So if something happened to him, I think that no civilized person can be sorry.”

Kuntar is a “despicable person,” Steinitz said. “It is possible that the Finnish intelligence service acted here, I have no idea, I know only what I see in the media.”

Israel released Kuntar in a deal with Hezbollah in 2008 for the bodies of Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser, IDF reservists who were killed and had their bodies taken in a 2006 cross-border attack that led to the Second Lebanon War.

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