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Lebanese army. On alert Photo: Reuters
Lebanese army. On alert Photo: Reuters
 
Siniora. Asked to use constraint Photo: Reuters
Siniora. Asked to use constraint Photo: Reuters
 
 

 

Report: Lebanese army boosts troops along Israel border

Syrian newspaper al-Watan reports Lebanese army, UNIFIL to increase patrols in southern Lebanon. UNIFIL officer in Lebanon reportedly speaks with PM Siniora, importuning him to call his army to be on highest possible alert out of concern that 'some might want to launch rockets into Israel'

Roee Nahmias
Published: 01.05.09, 13:00 / Israel News

The Lebanese army and UNIFIL have significantly increased their security arrangement in southern Lebanon since Israel has launched Operation Cast Lead, Syrian newspaper al-Watan reported Monday.

 

As part of this increased alert status, the Lebanese army and UNIFIL will carry out patrols on armored personnel carriers along the border.

 

Force Commander Major-General Claudio Graziano called on Lebanon to exercise constraint within its territory in order "not to give Israel an excuse to attack Lebanon."

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Sources in the Lebanese government reported to London-based newspaper al-Hayat that Graziano had a phone conversation with Lebanese PM Fouad Siniora on Saturday evening, upon the start of Israel's ground incursion into the Gaza Strip.

 

According to the report, the UNIFIL commander emphasized the need to use constraint and not to allow "any dramatic developments in southern Lebanon in response to Israel's escalating aggression in Gaza."

 

The government sources said that though Graziano didn't send a clear warning to the Lebanese government from the Israeli government, he called Lebanon to be on the highest possible alert out of concern that "some might want to launch rockets into Israel."

 

Will Hizbullah respond?

It is reasonable to assume that not only UNIFIL and the Lebanese army are closely following the recent developments in the Gaza Strip. Surely Hizbullah is also keeping a close eye on what is going on.

 

Though Hizbullah may not want to take on active involvement in the current clash, the fact that the organization is under huge pressure from an Arab world that may be looking on incredulously as they wonder why the organization is not coming to the aid of Hamas at this difficult juncture.

 

Though Hizbullah would prefer to busy themselves with domestic Lebanese politics for the upcoming parliamentary elections to be held this May, the option that the organization will decide to help Hamas in any case cannot be discounted.

 

Next month will mark the year anniversary of the assassination of the organization's military leader Imad Mugniyah, providing additional impetus for the organization to take action against Israel, either abroad or within Israeli territory.

 

Palestinian organizations operating within Lebanon, such as those belonging to the Global Jihad, may also decide to take advantage of the current escalation to launch rockets into Israel, as indicated by the recent discovery of missiles ready to be fired into Rosh Hanikra in northern Israel.

 

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