Israeli jet circles Shia gathering

An Israeli reconnaissance plane circled over Beirut's southern suburbs when Hizb Allah leaders were addressing a mass Shia gathering.

    Hizb Allah's leader Hassan Nasr Allah continued his address

    Commemorating Ashura on Tuesday, crowd members confirmed that a plane illegally entered Lebanese airspace just west of Beirut at about 10:00 local time.

    Briefly circling the capital's southern suburbs and Baabda, where Lebanon's president lives, the airspace violation failed to prevent Hizb Allah from addressing a crowd of more than 100,000.
       
    Hizb Allah was the resistance group largely responsible for driving Israel from southern Lebanon after a 22-year occupation. 
       
    However, despite the withdrawal, Israel has flown regular sorties over southern Lebanon.

    UN criticism

    The United Nations views these overflights, and Hizb Allah's frequent retaliatory fire, as violations of the terms of Israel's pullout.
       
    But there were no reports of any Hizb Allah retaliation on Tuesday.

    Last month, the personal representative of the UN Secretary-General Kofi Anan for Southern Lebanon Staffan de Mistura criticised Israel's numerous incursions.

    "These aerial violations of the Blue Line are not conducive to helping restore peace and security to this area.

    "We reiterate the calls made by various UN officials, most notably the Secretary-General himself, and a number of other concerned Member States that Israel cease these violations."

    SOURCE: AFP


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