Hezbollah Cancels Marches Fearing Israeli Strike
BEIRUT, Lebanon (AP) _ Hezbollah canceled an annual protest march today because the Shiite fundamentalist group said it feared an Israeli strike to avenge the deadly bombing of the Israeli Embassy in Argentina.
A statement issued by Hezbollah, or Party of God, said the move was designed to avert ″the vengeful, malicious plans of aggressive actions being concocted by (the) Zionist enemy.″
The Hezbollah communique was made public barely half an hour before the marches were to begin at 10 a.m. in south Beirut’s Shiite Muslim slums, the ancient township of Baalbek in eastern Lebanon and in south Lebanon.
It was the first time that Hezbollah has canceled the annual marches. The party usually has demonstrations and fiery speeches to mark Jerusalem Day, which was proclaimed in 1988 by Iran’s late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini to show solidarity with the Palestinian struggle to regain Jerusalem.
Hezbollah and various fundamentalist groups operating under its wing have been on alert since the bombing of the Israeli Embassy In Buenos Aires March 17, which killed 28 people.
One of these groups, Islamic Jihad, claimed responsibility for the bombing. The group said the bombing was carried out to avenge the assassination of Hezbollah’s former secretary-general, Sheik Abbas Musawi, who was killed along with his wife and son in an Israeli air ambush Feb. 16 in southern Lebanon.
Shiite Muslim guerrillas killed two Israeli-backed militiamen in a bomb attack in south Lebanon on Thursday, and a 14-year-old girl was fatally wounded in ensuing shelling duels.
Israel created a ″security zone″ in southern Lebanon in 1985 to guard against cross-border raids.