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French Version


Israeli drone draws fire from Lebanese Army

An Israeli aircraft violated Lebanon's airspace Wednesday, drawing anti-aircraft fire from the Lebanese military, the Lebanese Army Command said. The target of the anti-aircraft fire at 10:40 a.m. was an Israeli drone east of the Southern port city of Tyre.

Israeli fighter-bombers had earlier flown for two hours at low altitude over various areas of Southern Lebanon, including the Tyre region, according to the army statement.

Israel has drawn intense international criticism by continuing overflights after the August 14 cease-fire that ended its 34-day war with Lebanon.

A spokesman for the UN peacekeepers in Lebanon confirmed to Reuters Wednesday that the army had opened fire.

Israeli warplanes regularly fly over South Lebanon but witnesses said Wednesday's flights, seen from the Bekaa Valley and the Southern city of Sidon, were unusually frequent and at a lower altitude than normal.

The United Nations has warned that the overflights undermine the credibility of its peacekeepers and compromise efforts to stabilize the region.

Israeli Defense Minister Amir Peretz has said the overflights are necessary to monitor what he charges are continuing arms smuggling by Hizbullah.

Meanwhile, another statement from the Lebanese Army said four Israeli warplanes violated Lebanese airspace Wednesday, flying over Alma ash-Shaab and heading north toward Rashaya. The aircraft left Lebanon at 11:45 a.m.

The National News Agency (NNA) said Israeli planes conducted mock raids starting over the towns of Marjayoun and Khiam. Israeli planes also flew over Nabatieh, Iqlim al-Tuffah and Jezzine. The NNA correspondent in Tibnin said Israeli planes also flew over the qada of Bint Jbeil. The NNA also said two Israeli bulldozers were working along the barbed wire parallel to the towns of Kfar Kila and Adaisseh, and were escorted by an Israeli military patrol.

Beirut 22-02-2007
Redaction
The Daily Star



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