UNIFIL force in Lebanon
Photo: Reuters

Lebanese army rep: Border skirmish calculated decision

During meeting with IDF, UNIFIL reps, Lebanese general says soldiers who opened fire on Israeli troops Tuesday were following orders. Lebanese army chief: Soldiers showed enemy attempt to hurt us will carry price

During a meeting with IDF and UNIFIL representatives at the Naqoura crossing Wednesday night, a senior Lebanese army officer said Tuesday's deadly border incident was initiated by Lebanese soldiers as part of a general policy and was by no means an "isolated incident."


General Abdul al-Rahman Shitli said during the meeting that the Lebanese army was determined to resist any violation of its sovereignty. "Soldiers are instructed to open fire. This is the army's decision," he said.


The Lebanese daily As-Safir said the Israeli representative, Brigadier-General Yossi Heiman, said Lebanon was responsible for the border skirmish near the village of El- Adeisse, during which three Lebanese and an Israeli were killed. He said the IDF maintains the right to operate south of the UN-recognized "Blue Line" separating Israel and Lebanon.


The Lebanese general dismissed the IDF's claim, saying Israeli forces crossed the border. "Lebanon is committed to UN Resolution 1701, and we call on Israel to adhere to it as well," he said.


In a statement issued after the meeting, UNIFIL commander Maj. Gen. Alberto Asarta Cuevas said he called for restraint from all sides and avoidance of "any action that could serve to heighten tensions."


He said UNIFIL was still investigating the clash, but preliminary findings were presented at the meeting.


"Both parties renewed their commitment to the cessation of hostilities ... and undertook to work with UNIFIL to ensure that incidents of violence are avoided in the future," the statement read.


On Wednesday Lebanese army chief Jean Kahwaji toured the site of the border clash. He praised the Lebanese soldiers' "heroism in the face of the enemy and their defense of the homeland's sovereignty."


"You (soldiers) proved to the treacherous enemy that any attempt to hurt our nation on its land will carry a price," he said.


Hanan Greenberg contributed to this report






פרסום ראשון: 08.05.10, 12:53
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