News Column

Lebanon Points to Threat of Israeli Border Incursions

August 29, 2013

Lebanon highlighted during a recent tripartite meeting hosted by UNIFIL the threat from Israeli incursions to the country's border stability, a Lebanese Army statement said Thursday.

As part of its periodic meets, the U.N. Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) hosted a meeting Wednesday between Israel and Lebanon at the Naqoura border crossing.

The meeting was devoted to discussing Israeli violations of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1701, particularly the Aug. 7 incursion of Labbouneh, said the statement.

"The Lebanese side presented maps and images that reveal the facts about the Israeli incursion [of Labbouneh], stressing the threat to the stability of the border areas," the Army said.

In a similar statement also released Thursday by U.N. peacekeeping forces, UNIFIL commander Maj. Gen. Paolo Serra expressed "serious concern" over the Labouneh incident.

He said the Israeli incursion inside Lebanese territory "constituted a serious breach of the cessation of hostilities and a violation of Resolution 1701."

Resolution 1701, approved on Aug. 11, 2006, brokers a cessation of hostilities between Lebanon and Israeli after the July-August war between the two sides.

According to the Lebanese Army, an Israeli foot patrol crossed 400 meters into Lebanese territory off the border village of Labbouneh on Aug. 7.

The Army said at the time that during the infiltration an explosion occurred, leaving a number of Israeli troops wounded.

Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon said the soldiers were wounded during an "operational activity meant to preserve the calm for the northern communities in particular and for the residents of Israel in general."

But Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah said his group was responsible for wounding the Israeli soldiers.

He said Hezbollah had prior information that two Israeli units were planning to infiltrate Lebanon "so we planted the explosives."

Serra, according to the UNIFIL statement, also "strongly condemned" a rocket attack on Israel earlier this month, saying it, too, constitutes a violation of 1701.

"He strongly protested these violations and called for full cooperation with UNIFIL's investigations into the incidents," the UNIFIL statement said.

On Aug. 23, two of four rockets fired from an area near the southern city of Tyre crashed into Israel. The Israeli military said one projectile was shot down. No casualties were reported.


(c)2013 The Daily Star (Beirut, Lebanon)

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Source: Copyright Daily Star, The (Beirut, Lebanon) 2013

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