Crossfire War – Tehran – Damascus – Riyadh Watch – West Asia Theatre: Tehran – Riyadh – Damascus/Marjayoun – Beirut – Paris – Rome – Jerusalem – Cairo – Washington; Explosion in South Lebanon Kills Four Spanish Troops Serving In UNIFIL – No One Claims Responsibility
Night Watch: MARJAYOUN-KHIAM VALLEY – Al Jazeera is reporting four Spanish soldiers, serving with UNIFIL in South Lebanon, were killed by an explosion today. Two United Nations vehicles were hit by what a UNIFIL spokesman described as either a mine or a booby trap in the Marjayoun-Khiam valley near Israel’s border.
This is the area that experienced the heaviest fighting in last summer’s war between Hezbollah/Israel. The explosion could have been caused by mines Hezbollah placed then to target Israel’s forces, but I suspect Tehran has been monitoring the movements of UNIFIL units and this is part of Iran’s policy of beginning attacks against them. One week ago some new Palestinian militant group, Ansar Allah, with Hezbollah’s assistance, launched some Katyusha rockets at northern Israel. That prompted Lebanon and UNIFIL to begin joint patrols in this area, now this explosion. [ALJAZEERA]
Tehran had al-Qaeda declare UNIFIL to be an “enemy of Islam” as soon as European units began to arrive as a result of the Rome Conference at the end of last summer’s war. In February youths in the area, who support Hezbollah, threw stones at Spanish troops. That incident was explained away by UNIFIL as “misunderstandings” and “youthful exhuberance” and now this latest incident, just as meetings in Damascus are currently underway between representatives of Palestinian militant groups and Iran Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs, Mohammed-Reza Baqeri. Perhaps it was a mine planted by Ansar Allah, also with Hezbollah’s assistance under Tehran’s instruction. After today’s explosion Hezbollah made a diplomatic statement condemning it.
Debka is now reporting for some weeks, Islamic extremist units have been threatening UNIFIL, which contain 1,000 Spanish troops. Israeli helicopters are now hovering over the scene of the attack.[DEBKA]