For the second time this month, a Shiite militia leader has posed on the Lebanese border with Israel, The Jerusalem Post reported Friday.
Al-Hajj Hamza, a commander of Liwa al-Baqir, a Hezbollah-allied Syrian militia trained by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) was seen in pictures posted on social media showing him on the border with Israel. The militia fought alongside Hezbollah, in supported of the Bashar al-Assad regime, in the battle to capture the eastern half of Aleppo from rebels.
Earlier this month, Qais al-Khazali, leader of the Iraqi militia Asaib Ahl al-Haq, along with members of his militia and Hezbollah, was seen in videos on the border with Israel.
Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri called al-Khazali’s visit a violation of Lebanese law.
In response to the incident, Hariri’s office released a statement saying, “Hariri contacted the concerned military and security officials to conduct the necessary investigations and take measures to prevent any person from carrying out military activities on Lebanese territories, to thwart such illegal acts… and to prevent the person in the video from entering Lebanon.”
Aymenn al-Tamimi, a research fellow at the Middle East Forum said that Hamza’s trip to the Lebanese border with Israel possibly signaled two things. The visit was “in part a rebuke to Hariri over his anger about Khazali’s visit to the border area, but is also intended to antagonize Israel and remind it that in a future war with Hezbollah there will now be a large transnational network of Iranian-backed militias and fighters to support their Lebanese ally.”
Last year an Iranian general said that his country had assembled a Shiite army that “has the objective that, God willing, we will not have anything called Israel in 23 years.”