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Israel, Hezbollah threaten war – again

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"Contrary to the talk, the situation on the ground in our area of operations is generally quiet," says Milos Strugar, senior advisor to the UN peacekeeping force known as UNIFIL, which patrols the southern Lebanon border district. "In our contacts with all the parties, they reiterate to us their interest in upholding the cessation of hostilities."

Israel fears retaliation for assassination

That Israeli media has reflected concerns that Hezbollah may be planning an attack against Israel in revenge for the slaying of Imad Mughniyah, the group's top military commander, in a car bomb assassination in Damascus in February last year. There was no claim of responsibility for the assassination, but Hezbollah has blamed Israel. There have been reports over the past year of foiled revenge attacks against Israeli targets in Central Asia and Africa.

The warnings have cast a cloud over what has been a bumper summer tourist season for Lebanon with more than 1 million visitors recorded in July in a country with a population of only 4 million.

On Thursday, Israeli President Shimon Peres called Hezbollah a "curse" and accused it of "destroying" Lebanon and "bringing calamity" upon the Lebanese through its subservience to Iran.

Last week, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said that in the next war Israel would bomb Lebanese infrastructure. Sheikh Hisham Safieddine, a top Hezbollah official, responded that if Barak commits a "foolish act" in Lebanon, the next war would make the 2006 conflict "look like a joke."

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