Lebanese minister Marwan Hamadi accused Hassan Nasrallah Sunday night of reneging on his pledge to abide by the UN ceasefire
August 13, 2006, 10:57 PM (GMT+02:00)
Hamadi information minister, a Druze, said Sunday night that Nasrallah had broken his word to order Hizballah fighters south of the Litani to hand in their weapons to allow Lebanese army troops to be deployed there. DEBKAfile reports: Amid heavy fighting across the entire Lebanese front, Israeli field commanders await directives for Monday 0800 hours when the ceasefire deadline goes into force.
Lebanon front commander Maj-Gen Benny Gantz said Sunday night the IDF will honor the ceasefire but also defend its troops and Israeli civilians. DEBKAfile asks: Have they been told to hold their fire in line with Israel’s acceptance of the UN resolution 1701 now that the Lebanese government and Hizballah leader Hassan Nasrallah have backtracked?
DEBKAfile has learned that Tehran has meanwhile ordered Nasrallah to keep Israel engaged in combat for another 3 to 4. As a result of which he suddenly backed away from his pledges to France and the Siniora government Saturday to accept a ceasefire and a UNIFIL force in south Lebanon.
Nasrallah said he would wait a month to see how Israel’s retreat from the disputed Shabaa Farms was progressing.
At five minutes notice, the thunderstruck Lebanese ministers called off their meeting to discuss the deployment of their forces in the south and the disarming of Hizballah
Prime minister Olmert and foreign minister Tzipi Livni spent the day explaining that the resolution is good for Israel and praising its unanimous endorsement by the Israeli cabinet Sunday. The PM plans a speech to Knesset Monday lauding the resolution as an Israeli achievement.
This is the situation the night before the ceasefire: Israel says its troops will not be recalled from Lebanon until a beefed up UNIFIL force is in place. However no international peacekeepers will deploy without a Lebanese military presence. That has now been checked by Nasrallah because the Lebanese army chiefs refuse to deploy south of the Litani if Hizballah fighters are armed.
Sunday, Hizballah deployed dozens of its combatants in furious anti-tank missile assaults on IDF tanks and field units along the S. Lebanese front. Fierce clashes raged just north of the Israeli town of Metula and other parts of the former “security strip” on the border. At least 16 Israeli soldiers were injured before noon Sunday.
Sunday, an unprecedented number of rockets – 250 - were also fired into northern Israel by midday. DEBKAfile’s military sources say Hizballah is demonstrating that its ability to subject northern Israel to rocket barrages from S. Lebanon is unimpaired after a month of combat.
Sunday, Israel lost two officers and 3 soldiers in action in South Lebanon. Saturday, 24 men died in battle, including 5 crew aboard a Yasur helicopter that Hizballah shot down.