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Israeli minister says ‘Lebanon equals Hezbollah’ after election

JERUSALEM: Hezbollah’s gains in the Lebanese election on Sunday show that the state is indistinguishable from the Iranian-backed group and that Israel should not distinguish between them in any future war, an Israeli security cabinet minister said. “Hezbollah = Lebanon,” Education Minister Naftali Bennett, a rightist in the Israel’s conservative coalition government, said on Twitter on Monday. “The State of Israel will not differentiate between the sovereign State of Lebanon and Hezbollah, and will view Lebanon as…

Hezbollah criticizes Lebanon decision to allow Spielberg film

BEIRUT: Hezbollah criticized the Lebanese government on Friday for allowing cinemas to screen Steven Spielberg's film "The Post" despite calls for a ban because of the director's links to Israel. The movie premiered in Beirut this week after Lebanon's interior minister ruled against any ban. Activists in Lebanon had campaigned against the film because Spielberg gave funds to Israel during its 2006 war with Hezbollah in Lebanon. The two countries are officially enemy states. 'We reject this decision. We consider it a…

Lebanon’s PM Hariri shelves resignation, easing crisis

BEIRUT: Lebanon’s Saad al- Hariri on Wednesday shelved his decision to resign as prime minister at the request of President Michel Aoun to allow for dialogue, easing a crisis that had deepened tensions around the Middle East. Hariri made his announcement after returning to Beirut for the first time since he quit abruptly in a Nov. 4 broadcast from Saudi Arabia. At the presidential palace near Beirut, Hariri said he hoped this move would open "a new gateway for a responsible dialogue...that deals with divisive issues…

Hamas rejects Arab League labelling Hezbollah ‘terrorists’

GAZA: Palestinian freedom movement Hamas rejected on Monday an Arab League resolution labelling Lebanon's Hezbollah a terrorist organisation. In a statement the party said it "rejects the description of the Lebanese Hezbollah resistance movement as terrorist." Instead, it added, Israel's actions against Palestinians should be labelled "terrorism." Read More: Hamas appoints military chief as deputy leader It also called on Arab states to "support the legitimate struggle of the Palestinian people" and urged them to work…

Lebanon’s Hariri arrives in France after Saudi ‘hostage’ rumours

PARIS: Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri arrived in France Saturday from Saudi Arabia, where his resignation announcement two weeks ago sparked accusations that he was being held there against his will. Hariri is in Paris at the invitation of France's President Emmanuel Macron, who is attempting to help broker a solution to a political crisis that has raised fears over Lebanon's fragile democracy. Hariri and his wife Lara, who landed at Le Bourget airport outside the French capital at 7:00 am (0600 GMT) after flying…

Hezbollah says Israel pushing region to war

BEIRUT: Lebanon’s Hezbollah accused Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government on Sunday of pushing the region to war in Syria, Lebanon and the Gaza Strip, and said nowhere in Israel would be safe if such a conflict were to erupt. Tensions have risen this year between Hezbollah and Israel, which last fought a major conflict in 2006. Israel has said it would use all its strength from the start in any new war with Hezbollah. In a speech to followers, Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said the Israeli…

Lebanese army, Hezbollah announce offensives against IS on Syrian border

BEIRUT: The Lebanese army launched an offensive on Saturday against an Islamic State enclave on the northeastern border with Syria, as the Lebanese group Hezbollah announced an assault on the militants from the Syrian side of the frontier. The Lebanese army operation got underway at 5 a.m., targeting Islamic State positions near the town of Ras Baalbek with rockets, artillery and helicopters, a Lebanese security source said. The area is the last part of the Lebanese-Syrian frontier under insurgent control. A security…

Kuwait expels Iranian diplomats over ‘terror’ cell: official

KUWAIT CITY: Kuwait on Thursday ordered the expulsion of about 15 Iranian diplomats after the emirate's top court convicted a "terror" cell of links to the Islamic republic, a government source told AFP. Kuwait also ordered the closure of the Iranian "military, cultural and trade" missions, said the government official, who asked not to be named. The Gulf state's supreme court last month sentenced the mastermind of the cell to life in jail and condemned 20 others to various prison terms for alleged links with Iran and…