Defense committee tours northern border [pg.2]

Following increasingly alarming intelligence reports of Hizbullah activity in the north, the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee toured Israel's northern border on Sunday and received detailed briefings from commanders there. The six-hour tour included inspections of bases and towns and left the MKs very concerned about the security situation in the north, said a Knesset spokesman. Over the past several months, the committee has received consistent reports that Hizbullah has increased its efforts to attack the northern border. According to intelligence officials, Iran has stepped up pressure on Hizbullah to attack Israel. "Hizbullah is not a lonely terror group," said MK Effi Eitam (National Religious Party-National Union). "It receives financial aid and arms through Syria and Iran is extremely involved." Last month, the head of Military Intelligence, Maj.-Gen. Amos Yadlin told the committee that there was an "arc of evil" which stretched from Damascus to Teheran. "It includes Hizbullah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad," Yadlin told the committee following a series of Hizbullah attacks in May. Although the northern border has been quiet since those attacks, officers there told the MKs that Hizbullah had made numerous efforts to kidnap Israeli soldiers.