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Photo: Reuters
IAF aircraft
Photo: Reuters
Photo: Reuters
French Defense Minister Michelle Alliot-Marie
Photo: Reuters
France: Israel stopped mock air attacks
During EU meeting in Brussels, French defense minister says IAF warplanes have stopped mock air strikes targeting European peacekeepers in Lebanpn following incident in which French peacekeepers came within seconds of shooting down Israeli warplanes
Israeli warplanes have stopped mock air attacks targeting European peacekeepers in Lebanon following a French government protest, French Defense Minister Michelle Alliot-Marie said Monday.

 

"There is no more of that attitude - that is, an openly hostile attitude - like we had over a French vessel, a German vessel and the French ground forces, which caused a real danger of legitimate defense measures being taken," Alliot-Marie told reporters at a European Union meeting.

 

Paris demanded Israel stop the raids after French peacekeepers came within seconds of shooting down Israeli warplanes two weeks ago.

 

Alliot-Marie said Israeli overflights of Lebanon were continuing in defiance of the UN, but said they were no longer taking a threatening approach to the peacekeepers.

 

'Automatic defense reaction'

She repeated French forces could have launched an "automatic defense reaction" after Israeli planes failed to identify themselves while flying mock bombing runs at peacekeepers.

 

The commander of the French-led UN peacekeeping force in Lebanon said last week that such a scenario was avoided only because of restraint by French forces.

 

Israeli officials said flights over Lebanon are needed to monitor Lebanese compliance with UN demands, and said they were working with the peacekeeping force to avoid misunderstandings.

 

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