Israel defies France on Lebanon flights

Israeli warplanes have carried out low-level flights over Lebanon, a day after Israel rejected a call by France's defence minister to halt violations of the country's airspace.

    Israel has continued its flights over Lebanon

    The planes overflew much of southern Lebanon and the capital Beirut on Monday morning, Lebanese residents said.

    Neither Hezbollah nor the Lebanese army fired anti-aircraft rounds at them as they have done in previous years.

    At the UN's New York headquarters on Friday, Michele Alliot-Marie, the French defence minister, called Israel's violations of Lebanese airspace "extremely dangerous" and said they should stop immediately.

    She said an Israeli aircraft may mistakenly be seen by UN troops as having hostile intent, possibly causiing a "very serious incident".

    Israeli jets have routinely flown over Lebanon since a 34-day war between Israel and Hezbollah ended on August 14 with a UN-sponsored truce and the expansion of a UN peacekeeping force, including a French contingent, in southern Lebanon.

    The Lebanese government and the UN say the overflights, which Israel had conducted since ending its 22-year occupation of south Lebanon in 2000, violate both the latest truce and the terms of Israel's earlier pullout.

    Israel said on Sunday its combat planes would continue to fly over southern Lebanon.

    SOURCE: Reuters


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