Aita al-Shaab (Archive photo)
Photo: AP
IDF captures civilians in southern Lebanon
Forces operating in southern Lebanese town kidnapped four civilians, al-Jazeera reports. IDF officials say men were armed, but it is unclear whether they are Hizbullah fighters. Later, eyewitnesses and security sources report six people were arrested in two villages near border

Israel Defense Forces soldiers entered the southern Lebanese town of Aita al-Shaab and kidnapped four people, the al-Jazeera network reported Friday. The IDF reported that the four were armed and will be released following an interrogation. 


Later, eyewitnesses and security officials reported that IDF soldiers arrested six people in two villages near the border with Israel: A police officer and four civilians were detained in Aita al-Shaab and another person was arrested in the village of Marwahin.


The IDF reported that the soldiers detained a group that approached them, but it was not reported where the incident took place and whether the people were armed.


IDF soldiers have been operating in the town since the onset of the fighting in Lebanon, and also following the withdrawal of most of the forces from the south of the country.


A force of the Herev Battalion, which carried out an ambush in the area, was involved in Friday's operation. During the ambush, the

soldiers spotted four Lebanese men who endangered the force and decided to question them. They will apparently be released following the interrogation.


The IDF spokesperson reported that the four were armed, and were questioned by IDF soldiers after their arrest. The identity of the four has not been reported, and it is unclear whether they are Hizbullah fighters.


Israeli soldiers still operating in area

Israel withdrew its forces from southern Lebanon after a ceasefire was declared on August 14, but Israeli soldiers are still operating in the area. Lebanese citizens reported that local residents are frequently taken into interrogation by the soldiers and are later released home.  


Prime Minister Ehud Olmert made it clear Thursday that "until the captives are released there will be no full implementation of Resolution 1701. Israel is fulfilling its part of the agreement, and Lebanon should do the same and immediately release the two kidnapped soldiers."


Olmert spoke during a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who is visiting Israel.


In Resolution 1701, the Security Council called on the Lebanese government and the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) to deploy their forces in southern Lebanon, and called on the Israeli government to simultaneously withdraw all its forces from the south of the country.


Hanan Greenberg contibuted to the report


First published: 08.09.06, 20:23
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