On Wednesday, in the village of Kfar Fila in southern Lebanon, a bomb exploded near an apartment building injuring three children. Then, on Thursday, a bomb exploded near the border between Jordan and the occupied West Bank, but no one was hurt. The first attack was in a Hezbollah controlled part of Lebanon and was an assassination attempt on a Hezbollah official. The second was an attack on an Israeli convoy and was apparently an assassination attempt on the Israeli ambassador to Jordan.
My first thought upon hearing about the attempt on the Israeli ambassador’s life was Hezbollah. While there was no connection between the blast in Lebanon and Israel, it is not a far leap to think that Israel was behind the bomb. Furthermore, Hezbollah has vowed revenge for the death of Imad Moughniyah in 2008, which was blamed on Israel. There are, on the other hand, a million reasons pointing to another group besides Hezbollah. While Hezbollah has acted in Jordan before, it is rare; Israel has relations with the Jordanian government (which have been strained due to the treatment of Palestinians) however Israel remains deeply unpopular among Jordanian citizens; the attack, according to Israeli authorities, was of ‘good intelligence’ but bad execution (not exactly Hezbollah’s style); and a local taxi driver was arrested following a short police chase.
Despite all this, Israeli officials have called Hezbollah a possibility and have said that more arrests will come. Furthermore, if this attack was executed by Hezbollah, it would follow the pattern of reprisals of Hezbollah and Israel before the 2006 war – that is, proportional tit-for-tat reprisals. Before the 2006 war, violence slowly escalated as both sides exchanged minor blows until Hezbollah entered Israel and kidnapped Israeli soldiers. Israel responded with an ill-fated search and rescue and the rest is history. The attack on the Israeli ambassador is slightly different in that it did not occur in Lebanon or occupied territory, but roadside bombs were very popular with Hezbollah during the Israeli occupation (and very rare in Jordan). My gut tells me this was not an attack perpetrated by Hezbollah; however, if it was, it would not surprise me considering all the rhetoric being thrown at Israel (and at Hezbollah by Israel) and the recent attacks on Hezbollah officials. While it was lucky that the Israeli ambassador and the rest of the motorcade were unharmed, let’s hope that Hezbollah was not involved, as that would only increase tensions with Israel.
For more information on this, see The Black Iris which has been covering this situation extensively.
Photo from Reuters via The Black Iris