Ghosn Says Authorities Have New Leads on Rocket Attack

Defense Minister Fayez Ghosn said Monday that the authorities know the identity of militants launching rockets on Israel in an attempt to destabilize southern Lebanon.

“We know who is launching the rockets, who is making them, who is making the explosives and who is destabilizing the South,” Ghosn told As Safir newspaper.

He stressed that authorities know to which side the militants are affiliated, saying the armed elements don’t want to see Lebanon stable.

“We have found leads in our continued investigation and we are working seriously but we can’t unveil them to the public now,” Ghosn said.

He hinted that a U.N. "strategy" review of its peacekeeping force in Lebanon is not linked to the political status quo or the security developments in Lebanon.

The United Nations in Lebanon will get a new Italian commander from January, while some diplomats have said France is reviewing its troop contribution to the force.

Earlier this month, a Katyusha rocket fired from the Lebanese border region of Qaysiya landed in the village of Houla.

A roadside bomb has also wounded five French U.N. peacekeepers near the southern coastal city of Tyre.

Last month, a series of rockets were fired into Israel, prompting a retaliatory strike by the Jewish state.

Ghosn said the government will make everything possible to allow the UNIFIL to carry out its responsibilities, saying the Lebanese army was strongly and fully present in the area south of the Litani river in accordance with U.N. Security Council resolution 1701.

He denied that the army would take control of UNIFIL’s mission, saying the peacekeepers will stay in the South as confirmed by U.N. officials and the ambassadors of countries that have contingents in the force.

Asked about the army’s ties with Hizbullah, Ghosn said: “The coordination with the resistance in the South is perfect.”

“The performance of the resistance is good … and its main objective is to resist Israel,” he said, stressing that its role will remain limited to that.

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