Hizballah should have some explaining to do, but the U.N.’s track record on dealing with the jihadist group’s violations of Resolution 1701 and the associated dangers to civilians in the area is, well, not very good.
“Lebanese army says one wounded in Lebanon blast,” from Reuters, October 13:
BEIRUT (Reuters) – One person was wounded when a shell exploded in a house in the southern Lebanese village of Tayr Filsi on Monday, the Lebanese army and Hezbollah said on Tuesday.
Hezbollah lawmaker Hussein Haj Hassan said the explosion took place in the garage of a Hezbollah member, wounding one person. “We are concerned with finding out the reasons for this explosion,” Hassan said.
Lebanese security sources said on Monday five people had been killed in a munitions explosion in a house in Tayr Filsi, just inside U.N. peacekeepers’ area of operations.
Hezbollah then denied anyone died in a blast in the area.
Israeli officials have accused Hezbollah of stockpiling munitions in violation of a truce which ended a 2006 war between the Jewish state and the Shi’ite guerrilla group.
The Israeli military released video footage on Tuesday it said was taken from an unmanned surveillance drone overlooking the scene shortly after the explosion. The footage was taken by an infra-red camera in black and white.
It showed frantic activity by dozens of people around the site with people loading at least one long object on a truck. The army then said two truckloads of munitions, including rockets were taken to another hiding place in nearby village.
“This footage proves that Hezbollah continues to hide munitions at hundreds of locations across southern Lebanon in places that are supposed to be clear of weaponry,” a spokeswoman said.
A senior Israeli military source said the Israeli military has asked UNIFIL, the peacekeeping force that was reinforced after the 34-day war in 2006, to open an investigation. Deputy Israeli Defense Minister Matan Vilnai told Israel’s Army Radio on Tuesday it was clear this was “a Hezbollah accident.”
UNIFIL spokeswoman Yasmina Bouziane said a U.N. peacekeeping patrol and a Lebanese army patrol visited the explosion site on Monday night. On Tuesday investigation teams from both parties “inspected the site and the surrounding area.”
“According to the information from the Lebanese army one person was injured and UNIFIL has no reports of other casualties,” Bouziane said.
“We’re still in the process of analyzing the information and the available evidence to ascertain the circumstances and establish the facts concerning the incident,” she said.
Israel and the United States accused Hezbollah of violating a U.N. weapons embargo in southern Lebanon after a weapons cache exploded in a village in July.
The United Nations said at the time there were signs the stockpile belonged to Hezbollah, and added that the presence of these arms were a violation of Security Council resolution 1701 which ended the war.
U.N. Special Coordinator for Lebanon Michael Williams said after meeting Prime Minister-designate Saad al-Hariri: “We are keeping a close eye on this because of its relevance to Resolution 1701 …”