Lebanon News

UNIFIL blasts Israel after troops cross Blue Line

File - A Lebanese soldier stands guard as Israeli armored vehicles cross the technical fence along the southern Wazzani region, Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2012. (The Daily Star/Mohammed Zaatari)

BEIRUT: Israeli troops committed a violation of Security Council Resolution 1701 by crossing the Blue Line Friday, a UNIFIL spokesperson said. Spokesperson Antoinette Midday told the National News Agency that the incident was “provocative” and violated Lebanese sovereignty.

“The land violations being carried out by elements of the [Israeli] armed forces are particularly dangerous, because they can be considered provocative, and increase tension along the Blue Line,” she said.

She added that UNIFIL’s commander, Brig. Gen. Paolo Serra, “immediately” contacted the Israeli army and objected to the violation, demanding that Israel “withdraw its troops withoutany delay.”

The Lebanese Army said five Israeli soldiers “unlocked the gate to the technical fence in the border area of Houla at 8:29 a.m. and crossed the Blue Line by a short distance” before withdrawing. Midday said the soldiers remained inside Lebanon for 30 minutes.

Separately, caretaker Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour asked Lebanon’s envoy to the U.N., Nawaf Salam, to file a complaint with the Security Council against Israel for crossing the fence and kidnapping two Lebanese shepherds close to the southern town of Kfar Shuba earlier this month.

An Israeli patrol kidnapped Youssef Zahra and Youssef Rahil on July 2. Israel returned the shepherds to UNIFIL the next day.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on July 13, 2013, on page 2.




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