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SATURDAY, 19 APR 2014
05:55 PM Beirut time
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Emergency border meeting after Israeli soldier killed
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NAQOURA, Lebanon: UNIFIL will chair an urgent tripartite meeting Monday with senior military officers from Lebanon and Israel, a day after a Lebanese soldier killed a member of an Israeli border patrol.

Sources in the border town of Naqoura told The Daily Star the meeting at the U.N. peacekeeping headquarters is likely to take place at 2 p.m.

The Head of UNIFIL's Force Commander in Lebanon, Maj. Gen. Paolo Serra, will chair the meeting to discuss the Sunday evening shooting.

During a meeting with caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati, U.N. Special Coordinator for Lebanon Derek Plumbly referred to the statement by U.N. Chief Ban Ki-moon who deplored the shooting incidents, according to the U.N. office.

Earlier Monday, Ban condemned the shooting close to the Blue Line and stated that UNIFIL along with both armies were cooperating to determine the circumstances of the incident.

In a statement, Ban also reminded the Lebanese Army of its responsibilities under Security Council Resolution 1701 and strongly urged both sides to exercise restraint.

Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon held the Lebanese government and the Lebanese Army responsible for the death of the Israeli soldier.

“We will demand that the Lebanese army first of all provide an explanation of exactly what happened there, and whether this is really a rogue soldier, what they did with him, and what the Lebanese army plans to do to prevent incidents of this type," Yaalon said.

The Israeli Army identified the soldier as Shlomi Chohen. 31.

Israeli army spokeswoman Lt. Libby Weiss said Israeli forces identified "suspicious movement" along the border just after midnight, and shot two members of Lebanon’s Army.

She said the shooting occurred near the place where Cohen was killed. Weiss had no details about the condition of the Lebanese soldiers.

There has not been any official Lebanese statement in response to the border incident yet, but a security source in Lebanon told The Daily Star that the Israeli soldier was killed after an Israeli army unit attempted to cross the border in Ras Naqoura.

Meanwhile, the Army said eight Israeli warplanes entered Lebanon's airspace at 9:30 a.m. and conducted aerial maneuvers above various Lebanese areas. The planes left above Naqoura at 11:30 a.m.

The aerial activity coincided with Israeli patrols along the border.

U.N. peacekeepers and Lebanese soldiers also patrolled the Blue Line Monday while UNIFIL helicopters conducted routine overflights over the demarcation line. -With AP

 
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