Hizbullah flag border 248.88.
(photo credit: AP [file])
Israel accused Lebanon of violating United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701 on Tuesday after a Hizbullah arms cache hidden inside a southern Lebanese town accidentally exploded.
The blast occurred inside the village of Hirbet Selm, some 20 kilometers north of the Israel-Lebanon border, south of the Litani River and within the area which falls under the mandate of the UNIFIL multi-national force.
According to Israeli defense officials, the cache was hidden in a storehouse inside the village and contained dozens of 122mm Katyusha rockets as well as high-powered machine guns. Some of the rockets reportedly flew into the sky.
Contrary to Lebanese media reports which claimed that the cache was hidden in the village before the Second Lebanon War in 2006, the Israeli defense officials said that the weaponry was recently placed inside the storehouse.
"This is a major violation of resolution 1701," one official said. "The weaponry was stored inside a village and is proof of our longstanding claim that Hizbullah uses civilian infrastructure to hide its weaponry."
According to Lebanese media reports, the Lebanese Armed Forces and UNIFIL sealed off the area surrounding the storehouse. The two reportedly announced plans to launch an investigation into the incident.
Last week, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the fragile relationship between Israel and Lebanon was threatened by allegations of Israeli spy cells operating in Lebanon, and by Israeli concerns that Lebanese "militias" are operating outside of state control and that Hizbullah has been deployed to southern Lebanon.