|Lebanese Army expands new presence in South
|Lebanese Army troops have continued their historic deployment to South Lebanon, taking over positions handed to UN peacekeepers by withdrawing Israeli forces, the UN Interim Force in Lebanon said Tuesday. "Yesterday, the Lebanese Army deployed to areas taken over by UNIFIL from the Israeli Army the day earlier" south of the village of Beit Yahun in the central sector, a statement said.
As of Monday, forward army positions stretched from Buyut as-Siyyad near the Mediterranean coast east to Majdalyoun, Zabqine, Yater, Rashaf, Tiri, Kunin, Mheibib, Shaqra, Majdal Selm, Qabrikha, Ghanduriya and Frun, it added.
In the eastern sector of the border area, army troops had reached Burj al-Muluk, Khiam, Kfar Shuba and Shebaa, the Lebanese military said, adding that troops had yet to deploy along the frontier itself.
The army also dispatched several troop carriers to Mari and Rihanat Beri.
According to the National News Agency, Israeli forces are still lodged on the Sarde Hill, west of the village of Wazzani. The force was reported to be composed of about 20 soldiers and at leat one Merkava tank.
The NNA's correspondent in the Southern city of Tyre said the Israeli forces have yet to lift yet their land, air and water siege on the region, indicating that enemy soldiers set up their bases in Yarin, Marwaheen, Zaloutieh, Boustan, and Alma Shaab in the qada of Tyre.
According to reports, the Lebanese Army is still waiting in the Qleileh area to deploy in Naqoura and Labbouneh.
Israeli Defense Minister Amir Peretz warned Sunday that troops would remain in strategic positions inside South Lebanon until a beefed-up UN force had been deployed alongside Lebanese Army troops, adding Lebanese troops would not be allowed to deploy within 2 kilometers of the border until the UN force had deployed.
The deployment of government troops to Hizbullah's longtime bastion in the South for the first time in decades was a key requirement of a UN truce resolution that came into force on August 14 to end 34 days of devastating conflict between Israel and the Shiite resistance group.
A statement released by the Lebanese Army Command announced that on Monday the Israelis recorded six violations of Lebanese airspace, thus breaching Resolution 1701.
The overflights were over the areas of Sidon, Tyre, Marjayoun, Nabatieh, Jezzine, Tibnin, and Beirut between 7:25 a.m. and 9:05 p.m.
NNA Hasbaya correspondent Said Maalawi reported Tuesday that Israeli planes flew at a low altitude over the areas of the South, the Western Bekaa, and Iqlim al-Tuffah.
Another NNA correspondent in Hasbaya said the Israeli Army fired flares over the occupied Shebaa Farms and contiguous Arqoub villages at dawn.
A series of explosions were also heard inside Shebaa, accompanied by roars from the reconnaissance jets flying over the areas of Arqoub, Hasbaya and Marjayoun.
The Lebanese Army set up 60 outposts along the north-eastern border with Syria to control illegal passageways. Outposts already there were beefed up starting with the Arida passageway up to the Kabir River in the North, passing by the areas of Summakieh, Hokr al-Daheri, Tal Hmeira, Sheikh Ayyash, Abboudieh, Jani, Hokr Janin, Nour Tahta, Dbabieh, OUweinat, Shadra, Bekaaieh, Wadi Khaled, Qarha, Kneisseh, and Akroum.
The Daily Star