Lebanon denounces Israeli air terrorism

President Emile Lahoud of Lebanon  said Israel’s “air terrorism” will have to be stopped to guarantee calm on the Lebanese-Israeli border, scene of a recent flare-up.

Israeli armoured vehicles patrol the Lebanese border
Israeli armoured vehicles patrol the Lebanese border

A statement denounced the “Israeli terrorism from the air targeting Beirut … which comes within the framework of the Israeli action to shake the stability of the region.

“The stability of the Blue Line in the south at the Lebanese-Israeli borders can be automatically guaranteed by the mere halt of Israeli air violations,” he said, referring to the UN-drawn demarcation line between the two states.

Fresh hostilities

Low-flying Israeli jets shook Beirut residents awake shortly after 1 am on Monday (2200 GMT) with loud supersonic booms, in an apparent mock raid that came after threats of “retaliatory options” by Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.

On Sunday, Israeli warplanes struck near the border village of Tayr Harfa, after an Israeli was killed and five wounded in cross-border fire from the Shia guerilla group Hizb Allah, which controls southern Lebanon.

The latest incidents came two days after the first Hizb Allah rocket attack in seven months on the Shebaa Farms, a border area occupied by Israel since 1967 and claimed by Lebanon with Damascus’ backing.

“We must defend our land, airspace and water by attacking Israeli warplanes”

Hizb Allah

Hizb Allah, which was instrumental in leading to the May 2000 Israeli troop pullout from southern Lebanon after 22 years of occupation, has pledged to continue to fire on Israeli jets to force them stop overflying Lebanon.

“We must defend our land, airspace and water by attacking Israeli warplanes,” Khodhir Noor El-Deen, a key political leader of Hizb Allah, told Aljazeera.

Plea to UN

Beirut asked the United Nations and the five permanent UN Security Council members to stop Israel from carrying out threats of air strikes against Lebanon, a foreign ministry official said on Monday.

The call came during separate meetings by Lebanon’s Foreign Minister Jean Obeid with the heads of diplomatic missions of the five permanent members, as well as the representative of UN chief Kofi Annan.

The border’s fragile peace has been shattered

The border’s fragile peace has been shattered

“Obeid asked the heads of the diplomatic missions to relay the position of Lebanon to their respective governments,” the official told AFP.

Lebanon called on the five powerful states to “make the necessary efforts to stop Israel from carrying out the measures it has adopted late Sunday when its inner security cabinet decided limited air raids on Lebanon,” he said.

Obeid received the Chinese charge d’affaires, Huang Chang Qing, before meeting with the US and British ambassadors, Vincent Battle and Richard Kinchen, ministry officials said. He also met with French charge d’affaires Christian Testot, Russian Ambassador Boris Bolotin and the UN representative, Staffan de Mistura.

Beirut on Sunday sent an urgent protest to the Security Council over Israel’s “aggression, threats and its continuous and provocative violations of the airspace and sovereignty of Lebanon,” according to a senior foreign ministry official.

Israel itself lodged a complaint with the Security Council on Saturday against Syria’s support for Hizb Allah, while the United States has warned both Beirut and Damascus to restrain the group.

Source : Al Jazeera, News Agencies

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