[Freemanlist2] Syria on Alert 'Because Hizbullah Revenge Attack is Near' - Gil Ronen
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Syria on Alert 'Because Hizbullah Revenge Attack is Near'
by Gil Ronen
Syria has raised the state of alert of its armed forces because it knows Hizbullah's revenge attack against Israel for the killing of Imad Mughniyeh is near, according to Israel's Channel 2 TV.
Soon after Mughniyeh's death, Israel warned Syria that it would hold it responsible for any revenge attack launched by Hizbullah for the killing of Mughniyeh, its operations officer.
Syria is due to release its official findings in the probe into Mughniyeh's death. He was killed in an explosion in Damascus in February.
The paper Al-Quds Al-Arabi, which is published in London, reported that since Mughniyeh's death, Syria has arrested dozens of suspects, including "Palestinians and senior Syrian army officers." Sources in Damascus told the paper that the investigation established that foreigners were behind the murder of Mughniyeh.
Syria has accused Israel of being behind the assassination.
'Assassination planned in Syria'
Meanwhile, former Syrian vice president Abdel Khalim Khaddam is accusing Syria of killing Muyghniyeh.
Interviewed by a Lebanese newspaper, Khaddam said that the head of Syrian intelligence was replaced because the investigation he conducted showed that those who planned the assassination came from within Syria.
Khaddam was forced into exile and took up residence in Europe after he criticized the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad.
Hizbullah: Home Front drill 'aggressive'
Hizbullah's Deputy Director Sheikh Naeem Kassem said Sunday that the Israeli Home Front exercise is a preparation for war and part of "Israel's aggressive character."
Kassem said the exercise had three purposes: first, to boost the morale of the Israeli people, which has been low since the Second Lebanon War; second, to convince the Israelis that the army has overcome the failure and is ready and has drawn all the lessons from the war; and third, he explained, "it is part of the preparations for war, because Israel is always on a war footing."
The Al-Arabiyah television network reported Sunday that the Lebanese military ordered residents of southern villages to move away from the border with Israel. According to the report, the Lebanese Army set up dirt roadblocks and inspection towers along the border with Israel to prevent Lebanese civilians from getting to close.
Tension between Israel and Syria has been high recently, and there were reports that Defense Minister Ehud Barak cancelled his planned visit to Germany this week because of it. Defense Ministry advisor Amos Gilad denied this report and said that the Defense Minister changed his schedule because of a heavy workload.
Deputy Chief of Staff Major General Dan Harel told reporters last week: "I see no reason at all for unusual tension in the North, and I do not think that any side is interested in a military confrontation."
However, he also made what reporters saw as a hinted threat at Syria, following reports that Syrian forces were on a heightened state of alert.
"Anyone who tries to strike Israel should keep in mind that Israel is the strongest country in the region and that its response will be hard and painful. We are always alert and ready," Harel warned.
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