BEIRUT: The European Union called for restraint after an Israeli soldier was killed by a Lebanese soldier who opened fire across the border.
Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the Commission, “urges Israel and Lebanon to act with utmost restraint,” a statement from her office said.
It said Ashton also called on all parties “to actively help defuse tensions.”
"The High Representative is worried about the shooting incidents across the Blue Line between Israel and Lebanon, which reportedly led to the killing of an Israeli soldier and later the shooting of two Lebanese soldiers,” the statement said.
A Lebanese Army statement, while stating that the soldier acted alone, did not comment on Israeli reports claiming that Israeli troops shot two Lebanese soldiers just after midnight Sunday near the area where the Israeli was killed.
A Lebanese security source said no Lebanese soldiers were shot shortly after the Israeli soldier was killed.
Ashton “underlined EU support to the role of the U.N. Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) in supporting peace and stability in south Lebanon,” the statement added.
She reiterated the importance for both Israel and Lebanon to “abide by and fully implement U.N. Security Council Resolution 1701, with a view to a long-term solution leading to restoring peace in the region."
The Security Council also condemned the border shooting Sunday evening that left an Israeli soldier killed, and called for restraint.
“Members of the Security Council deplored the shooting of an Israeli soldier by a Lebanese Armed Forces soldier on Dec. 15 in the vicinity of the Blue Line at Naqoura, and called for calm and continued restraint by all parties,” the Council said in a statement Tuesday.
The Israeli military said Shlomi Cohen, 31, was fatally shot by a Lebanese Army sniper near the tourist site of Rosh Hanikra on the Mediterranean Sea.
But a security source in Lebanon said the Israeli soldier was killed after an Israeli army unit attempted to cross the border in Ras Naqoura.