Ynetnews: Lieberman: Hezbollah fired rockets on Golan without Assad’s knowledge/ليبرمان يتهم حزب الله باطلاق صواريخ على بلاده من الجولان دون معرفة الأسد


Lieberman: Hezbollah fired rockets on Golan without Assad’s knowledge
ليبرمان يتهم حزب الله باطلاق صواريخ على بلاده من الجولان دون معرفة الأسد
Ynetnews/Moran Azulay, Attila Somfalvi/October 23/17

 While the defense minister insists Nasrallah instructed ‘to compartmentalize Assad and his regime from the execution of this shooting,’ IDF clarifies: ‘We still don’t know who fired on the Golan,’ but allows fire was ‘likely done without Assad’s knowledge.’
Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman insisted on Monday that the five rockets fired at it by Syrian artillery cannons early Saturday were not the result of errant fire, but rather a direct order from Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, the IDF clarified: “We still don’t know who fired on the Golan Heights.”
“The fire was carried out by a local cell operated by Hezbollah,” Lieberman said during an Yisrael Beytenu faction meeting. “Hezbollah did this in isolation of the Assad regime. There was a personal instruction by Nasrallah to compartmentalize Assad and his regime from the execution of this shooting … with the goal of dragging us into the Syrian mire.”
“Therefore I call here both on the Assad regime … and also on the Russian forces that are present there, to restrain Hezbollah. And this is another example of why they should be kicked out of Syria as fast as possible,” the defense minister added.
However, a defense official noted that “Lieberman’s comments on Nasrallah and the rocket fire on the Golan did not come from the army, but are instead based on his understanding, judgment and perspective.”
Meanwhile, the IDF did confirm the rocket fire came from Assad-controlled territory, and likely without his personal knowledge.
“Rocket fire in the middle of the night and in an unusual amount (five rockets) leads us to believe it is likely not errant fire,” a military official said.
Lieberman’s office did not immediately respond to the comments contradicting him. A Lieberman confidant who requested anonymity told Reuters: “The defense minister spoke based on his own judgment and assessment.”
The government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been warning that Israel, which has largely stayed out of the six-year-old Syrian civil war, could step up attacks in retaliation for shelling across the frontier, or to block Damascus’s Iranian and Lebanese Hezbollah reinforcements from setting up bases.
That could thrust the Israelis into confrontation with Syria and potential run-ins with its big-power backer, Russia. Israel last battled Hezbollah in Lebanon in 2006, and has occasionally fired on Syria to attack Hezbollah or Iranian targets during the civil war, but has mainly avoided direct fighting against Syria since their last war in 1973. Twice last week, mortar rounds or rockets launched from Syria hit areas of the Israeli Golan Heights, causing no casualties but drawing Israeli artillery fire against Syrian army posts.Syria’s Foreign Ministry said on Saturday, after projectiles fired from Syria drew an Israeli attack on three Syrian artillery guns, that Israeli strikes would have “grave consequences”.
**Reuters contributed to this story.


Israel Says Hizbullah Ordered Latest Golan Fire
Agence France Presse/Naharnet/October 23/17/Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Monday that mortar and rocket fire from Syria that landed in Israel last week was ordered by Lebanon’s Hizbullah, without the involvement of the Syrian regime. Speaking to senior members of his Yisrael Beitenu party in parliament, Lieberman said the fire into the Israeli-occupied sector of the Golan Heights was “definitely” not random spillover from fighting in the Syrian civil war, as in several previous incidents. “This was deliberate fire by a local squad operated by Hizbullah,” Lieberman’s party spokesman quoted him as saying, without elaborating on his source for the information. Israel fought a devastating 2006 war with Hizbullah and has voiced concern the group’s involvement in Syria risks opening up a new front. Israel also says that Hizbullah ally Iran is using the Shiite group to help expand its own presence in Syria, which borders Israel. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday used a speech in Israel’s parliament to praise U.S. President Donald Trump’s refusal to certify the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal and to send a warning to Tehran. “Every enemy who threatens us with destruction must know that he places himself in danger of a fatal blow,” he said. Hizbullah is also a key ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, but Lieberman said Damascus was not implicated in incidents on Thursday and Saturday in which rockets and mortar shells hit open ground in the Israeli sector. Israel responded with tank fire against Syrian military positions, saying that it held “the Syrian regime accountable for any aggression from within its territory.” “Hizbullah did it in isolation from the Assad regime,” Lieberman said in Hebrew, putting the blame on its leader, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah. “It was a personal order from Nasrallah to keep it secret from Assad,” he said, adding that nevertheless Israel saw the Syrian regime as responsible for attacks launched from Syrian soil. “Especially today when it controls 90 percent of the territory,” Lieberman said. He called on Damascus and on Russian forces deployed in Syria to restrain Hizbullah, which he said sought to “drag us into the Syrian swamp.” “I hope that everyone is sufficiently responsible to prevent that,” he added. Israel has sought to avoid becoming directly involved in the six-year civil war in Syria, though it acknowledges carrying out dozens of air strikes to stop what it calls advanced arms deliveries to Hizbullah. Israel seized 1,200 square kilometers (460 square miles) of the Golan Heights from Syria in the Six-Day War of 1967 and later annexed it, a move never recognized by the international community.