"Israeli" military officials were quoted on Monday rowing back from an assertion by the war minister that Hezbollah was behind a spate of shelling from Syria, which could increase tension on the "Israeli" entity's northern frontier.
"ISraeli" Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's regime has been warning that the "Israeli" entity, which has largely stayed out of the six-year-old Syrian war, could step up attacks in retaliation for shelling across the frontier, or to block Damascus's Iranian and Lebanese Hezbollah reinforcements from setting up bases.
That could thrust the "Israelis" into confrontation with Syria and potential run-ins with its big-power backer, Russia. The "Israeli" entity last battled Hezbollah in Lebanon in 2006, and has occasionally fired on Syria to attack what it said were Hezbollah or Iranian targets during the war, but has mainly avoided direct fighting against Syria since their last war in 1973.
Twice last week, mortar rounds or rockets launched from Syria hit areas of the "Israeli"-held Golan Heights, causing no casualties but drawing "Israeli" artillery fire against Syrian army posts.
Addressing his parliamentary faction on Monday, War Minister Avigdor Lieberman, a far right politician, said the Golan shelling was carried out by a Syrian cell on Hezbollah's orders without Damascus having been informed, to stoke "Israeli"-Syrian fighting.
Lieberman did not detail the source of his information.
"There was a personal instruction by [Hezbollah leader Hassan] Nasrallah to compartmentalize Assad and his regime from the execution of this shooting ... with the goal of dragging us into the Syrian mire," Lieberman said in the televised remarks.
"Therefore I call here both on the Assad regime ... and also on the Russian forces that are present there, to restrain Hezbollah."
Within hours, every major "Israeli" media outlet aired remarks attributed to unnamed military officers casting doubt on Lieberman's account.
"NO INFO" SUPPORTING STATEMENT
"We have no information supporting Lieberman's statement purporting that the [Syrian shelling] cell was run by Hezbollah personnel," the top-rated Channel 2 television quoted sources in the IOF ["Israel" Occupation Forces] as saying.
Lieberman's office did not immediately respond to the comments contradicting him. A Lieberman confidant who requested anonymity told Reuters that the war minister "spoke based on his own judgment and assessment."
Hezbollah did not respond to Lieberman's allegations.
In what appeared to be a reference to the "Israeli" entity's efforts to coordinate its actions in Syria with Moscow, Lieberman said Russian military commanders in Syria "have received all the [information] that they need on this matter".
There was no immediate comment from officials in Moscow.
Syria's Foreign Ministry said after Saturday's exchange of fire on the Golan that "Israeli" strikes would have "grave consequences". Lieberman said the "Israeli" entity is doing everything in its power to stave off military confrontation on the northern front.
Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team