Hezbollah militants suffered a backlash in southern Lebanon as villagers confronted members of the group while they were apparently moving rockets and launchers, blocking their vehicles, according to videos shared online.
On Friday, a crowd of villagers in south Lebanon reportedly took a stand against Hezbollah militants, as the Islamists trafficked their weapons between launch sites, amid an escalation in its conflict with Israel.
Local media reports that the villagers of Chouya were outraged with the Iran-backed militants, who had launched rockets at Israeli targets from locations in their village. They claim the militant group was putting the village at danger from retaliatory Israeli fire.
In videos shared online by reporters, a blue Isuzu truck laden with a rocket-loaded launcher can be seen being brought to a halt by an angry crowd, while locals challenge those transporting the weapons.
More footage appears to show fights breaking out between residents and the alleged Hezbollah militants, including a clip of one individual being manhandled into the back of a car. Upon taking his seat in the car, the opposite door opens and the man is punched.
? | #Hezbollah militias fired 19 rockets at #Israel in the morning hours.▪️The rockets were fired from residential areas and civilian homes.▪️Angry and armed Druze villagers dragged the militias out of their cars. pic.twitter.com/uA8CYGJixm
— EHA News (@eha_news) August 6, 2021
باعتين شاحنة تضرب صواريخ من شويا قرية من قرى حاصبيا والاهالي وقفوا الشاحنة. pic.twitter.com/u18IlbJITg
— Fares Halabi | فارس الحلبي (@FaresHalabi) August 6, 2021
Media reports suggest the villagers were from Lebanon’s Druze community, followers of a monotheistic and Abrahamic religion.
The president of the municipality of the village of Chouya confirmed the incident, adding that two trucks carrying rocket launchers had been stopped and that their contents have since been seized by the army, a correspondent at the National wrote on Twitter, citing a conversation with the mayor.
In a statement, the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) said they had arrested four people in relation to the launch, but that only one launcher had been seized.
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The Times of Israel, citing an alleged statement by the militant group, said Hezbollah acknowledged the events that took place in Chouya and vowed not to put such villages in danger again.
Since Wednesday, Hezbollah and Israeli forces have exchanged fire around the Blue Line that separates Israel from Lebanon. Tel Aviv has called on Beirut to take responsibility for acts of terrorism committed against Israeli citizens by Hezbollah, while Lebanon has demanded Israel refrain from its “aggressive” operations on its territory.
On Wednesday, the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) called on all parties to stop the conflict from escalating further, and said it would work with the LAF to reinforce security.
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