Sheikh Naim Kassem.
(photo credit: AP)
A week after a group of 15 people carrying Lebanese and Hizbullah flags crossed into the Shaba Farms, the terror organization called on its followers on Friday not to demonstrate in the area under Israeli control.
The Kuwaiti newspaper Alseyassah
reported that the group made the call in order to avoid a confrontation with the IDF for the time being.
According to the report, top Hizbullah and Amal officials made a commitment to the UN envoy in Lebanon not to organize rallies along the border with Israel and to block any attempt to demonstrate there.
Earlier Friday, Israeli Ambassador to the UN Gabriela Shalev responded positively to an announcement made at the Security Council confirming that weapons exposed in southern Lebanon were being actively maintained and indicated a violation of UN Resolution 1701.
Shalev told Israel Radio that this was the first time since the resolution was passed in 2006 that the UN had "pointed a finger at Hizbullah," and called it an achievement.
Shalev spoke of multiple unanswered Israeli complaints to the Security Council in an effort to get a response over frequent cease-fire violations by Hizbullah.
"Hizbullah violates [the cease-fire] all the time, but now is the first time that one of the violations has been recognized. [The Security Council] tells us to bring in evidence and we say, 'What do you want us to do? Bring in Nasrallah hugging a missile?" Shalev asked rhetorically.
The UN's head of peacekeeping Alain Le Roy said on Thursday during a briefing of the Security Council that there was an "actively maintained" weapons cache in southern Lebanon. The reserve was discovered after an explosion was heard on July 14.
Following a briefing by Le Roy, carried out upon a request by the United States, US Ambassador Alejandro Wolff told reporters that the under-secretary-general had confirmed the weapons in southern Lebanon were current and not only weapons brought there prior to 2006. Wolff also addressed the pelting of UN peacekeepers with stones following the explosion, which hampered the initial investigation.
Israeli officials have cited the incident as evidence that Hizbullah is rearming in the region.
On Wednesday, a senior Hizbullah official said that the explosions were set off by old shells, not a secret arms cache.
Comments made by the organization's deputy leader Sheikh Naim Kassem were the first on the nature of the explosion.
The explosions occurred in an abandoned building in the village of Khirbat a-Silm, about 15 kilometers from Israel.
Shalev called for "concrete" steps to confront a "new reality" in the region immediately after the incident, saying that it was a "flagrant" violation of the Security Council resolution. The series of explosions that rocked the area reflect "larger efforts by Hizbullah to rearm itself, in direct contravention of resolution 1701," Shalev wrote in a complaint to the UN.