I hear disturbing news from my contacts in Lebanon that Hizbollah, the Iranian-backed militia that is committed to Israel’s destruction, is trying to get involved in the Gaza blockade saga.
Much to the consternation of the U.S. and other major world powers, a new fleet of “aid” ships is preparing to mount a fresh challenge to Israel’s maritime blockade of Gaza, which has been imposed, partly, to prevent Iran smuggling arms to Hamas that can be used to attack Israeli residential neighbourhoods. Yesterday the U.S. government issued a statement urging the ships, which are due to set sail from Lebanon for Gaza, to “behave responsibly” and not to provoke the kind of retaliation from Israel that last month resulted in the deaths of nine activists.
Now I hear that Hizbollah has its own plans to get involved in the new flotilla with the sole aim of heaping further international condemnation on Israel. Incredible though it might seem, my Lebanese sources tell me that senior Hizbollah officials have even discussed the notion of using explosives they captured from Israel during the 2006 war to blow up one of the ships while it is en route to Gaza, and blame the incident on Israeli recklessness.
Far-fetched though this may seem, with tensions between Iran and Israel approaching crisis point over Iran’s refusal to abandon its uranium enrichment programme I can easily understand why Tehran might be encouraging Hizbollah to indulge in some drastic action that will divert attention away from Iran. In the unseen dirty war between Israel and Iran, in which Iranian nuclear scientists regularly go missing, and unexplained “accidents” occur at Iran’s nuclear facilities, I suppose anything is possible, even something as mad as Hizbollah blowing up an aid ship destined for its Hamas allies in Gaza.
Of course there is no way of verifying whether Hizbollah seriously intends to go ahead with this mad-cap plan, but we would all be well-advised to keep a close eye on the new aid flotilla if and when it puts to sea on its aid mission to Gaza. Watch this space!!
Originally published by Con Coughlin for the Telegraph.
Con Coughlin, the Telegraph's executive foreign editor, is a world-renowned expert on the Middle East and Islamic terrorism. He is the author of several critically acclaimed books. His new book, Khomeini's Ghost, is published by Macmillan.
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