Israel checking whether Hezbollah conducted
By Daniel Sobelman, Ha'aretz Correspondent
Israel is checking reports that the Hezbollah organization conducted missile tests in recent days. At approximately 6 P.M. on Sunday, a powerful explosion was heard in the Lebanon Valley, in eastern Lebanon, in close proximity to the Syrian border. The explosion took place in a Hezbollah training camp, in the north-eastern section of the Lebanon Valley. According to the French news agency AFP, the explosion was heard at a distance of twenty kilometers away.
The Beirut-based An-Nahar daily, which does not support Hezbollah, reported Monday that the explosion was the result of an experimental missile produced by Hezbollah. Sources said that the Hezbollah military leader in the area had informed residents of the region of an expected explosion, but sources close to Hezbollah told the newspaper that the explosion did not take place in a Hezbollah camp, but in a rock quarry.
It is likely that Hezbollah tried to send a message to Israel, following statements made in Israel in favor of attacking Hezbollah during an expected U.S. strike against Iraq. The head of the Hezbollah faction in the Lebanese parliament, Muhammad Raed, warned on Sunday that Israel would pay a heavy price for any attack. He said that his organization was preparing for an Israeli attack. Lebanese Foreign Minister Mahmoud Hammoud established a panel to deal with the possible dangers of an Israeli attack against Lebanon.