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German intelligence meets with Hezbollah for second time since 7 Oct

News Desk

JUL 2, 2024

(Photo credit: Reuters)

The Deputy Director of Germany’s foreign intelligence, Uli Diyal, met recently with Hezbollah’s Deputy Secretary-General Naim Qassem, Lebanese newspaper Al-Akhbar reported on 2 July. 

The meeting was the second between the two since the start of this year. 

According to Al-Akhbar, Diyal visited Beirut on Saturday and met with Qassem, returning to Berlin the following day without meeting with other Lebanese officials. 

“The atmosphere of the meeting was positive,” sources told Al-Akhbar.

The sources added that the two sides presented their points of view on the situation in the Gaza Strip and southern Lebanon. The German intelligence chief “did not carry any threatening messages as is the custom of Western envoys in their meetings with Lebanese officials, nor did he carry with him any comprehensive initiative,” they said. 

Instead, the visit came as a continuation of the first meeting between Qassem and Diyal, as well as to complement the visit of German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock to Beirut last week. Baerbock met with Lebanese officials during the visit and stressed the importance of de-escalation on Lebanon’s southern border. 

She also said that extensive efforts must be put into avoiding the outbreak of all-out war between Hezbollah and Israel. 

During the meeting between Diyal and Qassem, Hezbollah’s deputy chief “did not differ from the resistance’s declared position or his position in the previous meeting last January … he reiterated that any discussion of a ceasefire in the south is linked to a ceasefire accepted by the Palestinian resistance in Gaza and that if Western countries fear the outbreak of a major war, they must exert pressure on Israel to stop its war on Gaza,” the sources revealed to Al-Akhbar

“The enemy’s threats of a comprehensive war do not frighten the resistance, which is strong and prepared, and the strength it has shown is what prevents a war on Lebanon,” Qassem added, according to Al-Akhbar’s sources. 

Their meeting also reportedly touched on Lebanese citizens in Germany who were detained recently on charges of belonging to or working for Hezbollah. Diyal confirmed to him that the issue is in the hands of Germany’s judiciary and not within the jurisdiction of intelligence. 

Qassem met with Diyal in January. At the time, Al-Akhbar reported that “the Germans were unable to persuade the resistance to stop its operations or to promote the idea of ​​separating the [Lebanese and Palestinian] fronts.”

Hezbollah has been launching daily operations against Israeli border sites in support of the Palestinian resistance in Gaza. The attacks have emptied over 40 settlements and have decimated the economy, business, education, and daily life across Israel’s north. 

Tel Aviv has recently intensified threats against Lebanon over Hezbollah’s operations and said that battle plans have been approved for expanding its already brutal campaign of airstrikes on south Lebanon into a wider-scale operation.

Hezbollah has vowed not to stop its operations until the war in Gaza is brought to an end, saying it will fight “without limits, rules, or restraints” if Israel wages a broader war against Lebanon. 

The resistance group released footage late last month showing that it possesses the coordinates for many highly sensitive Israeli targets and that it is able to strike them if a broader war erupts. The targets included military sites and factories, and energy infrastructure, including oil refineries and power stations.

Israeli journalist Alon Ben David reported on 28 June that the losses suffered by the Israeli army in Gaza have significantly diminished its capabilities to wage war on multiple fronts and that the forces are “not currently ready for a broad campaign in Lebanon.”