Thursday, June 24, 2010
War tensions mount over Gaza-bound "enemy ships." Hizballah pledges reprisal
Ominous clouds gathered over the Mediterranean Thursday, June 24 after Israel announced that ships bound for Gaza would be deemed "enemy vessels" and halted by its navy by whatever means were necessary. Hizballah shot back with a threat of violent retaliation, while Israel's northern commander warned that the IDF was prepared to deal with threats from Lebanon by "appropriate means."
With two ships, one Lebanese and one Iranian, already at sea, the Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri was reported by debkafile's intelligence sources as coupling his public support for the sea campaign to break Israel's blockade of Gaza with a quiet bid to stall it.
He privately asked Cypriot President Demetris Christofias, Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou and the Maltese Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi to deny Lebanese ships bound for Gaza permission to drop anchor, refuel or load provisions at their ports, in order to prevent them from proceeding to Gaza.
Hariri explained that he feared the flotilla campaign to break the Israeli blockade would precipitate a new Middle East war.