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Lebanon Accuses Israel of Escalating War Threats

Lebanon is blaming Israel for rising tensions in the Middle East. The country's Prime Minister Saad Hariri has accused Israel of escalating war threats.

"We hear a lot of Israeli threats day in and day out, and not only threats," he said. "Every day we have Israeli warplanes entering Lebanese airspace."

In an interview with the BBC, Mr. Hariri said this is posing a serious danger to regional stability.

Mr. Hariri heads a fragile national unity government that includes two ministers from the Islamic guerrilla group Hezbollah, which fought a month-long war with Israel in 2006. Though Hariri is backed by the West, he said his government would stand with the Iranian and Syrian-backed Hezbollah in the event of war.

Hezbollah also accused Israel of fanning the flames of armed conflict.

The deputy leader of Hezbollah, Sheikh Naim Kassem, said there would be harsh retaliation for any Israeli attack because the only language Israel understands is force.

The escalating rhetoric comes after Israel and Syria traded war threats last week. Israel has defended the over flights in Lebanon, saying it has to keep an eye on Hezbollah which is rearming in violation of the United Nations ceasefire resolution that ended the war. Israel says Hezbollah has more than 40,000 rockets, but Israeli officials say they do not want war.

Cabinet Minister Yossi Peled said Israel is not planning or initiating any military action in Lebanon. He said, "Israel is prepared for war...but its supreme goal is quiet" on the northern border.