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Katyusha rockets cache in Lebanon (archives) Photo: AFP
Katyusha rockets cache in Lebanon (archives) Photo: AFP
 
 

Hezbollah says UNIFIL overstepped its authority

Shiite group's foreign relations chief says during meeting with French ambassador to Lebanon that UN had no right to 'dare to storm houses' following explosion in organizations armory

Roee Nahmias
Published: 07.22.09, 08:43 / Israel News

Hezbollah's foreign relations chief, Amar Mussawi, met Tuesday evening with French Ambassador to Lebanon André Parant to discuss the blast which occurred in the country last week in a building said to be a warehouse for weapons.

 

Mussawi accused the United Nations Interim Force in Southern Lebanon of overstepping its authority when its soldiers "dared to storm a house in the village of Khirbat Silem.

 

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Mussawi slammed UNIFIL's operation, saying that the international peacekeeper's mission was to "help the army take the necessary steps to maintain security."

 

UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon Michael Williams also addressed the incident, saying he would visit Israel in order to discuss the security situation along the country's border with Lebanon. Williams met with Hezbollah representatives on Tuesday in a bid to ease the tensions following the recent clashes between southern Lebanon residents and UN monitors.

 

About a week ago, an explosion reportedly took place in a Hezbollah Katyusha rocket warehouse, located some 15 kilometers (9 miles) from the Israel-Lebanon border. The blast caused panic in the region and in northern Israeli communities, but there were no injuries in the incident.

 

Several days later, UNIFIL forces arrived in the area in order to search the building. Local residents hurled stones at them, blocked roads and called on the monitors to leave. Fourteen UN peacekeepers were lightly injured by stones.

 

UNIFIL said in response that this was a serious violation of Security Council Resolution 1701, which ended the Second Lebanon War. The force's commander rushed to brief Lebanese officials on the matter.

 

Shortly afterward, the Lebanese army said it had launched a joint investigation with UN forces into the incident.

 

Following the incident, Israel demanded to receive the investigation's findings from UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. Simultaneously, the Foreign Ministry instructed 10 embassies across the world to protest against UNIFIL's "partial handling" of Hezbollah's rearming campaign in southern Lebanon.

 

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