Lebanon News

Plumbly: UNIFIL to investigate Lebanon rocket fire

Lebanese soldiers, left, along with U.N. peacekeepers seen in south Lebanon. (The Daily Star/File/Mohammed Zaatari)

BEIRUT: UN Special Coordinator Derek Plumbly condemned rockets fired from south Lebanon and Israeli retaliatory action Tuesday, adding that UNIFIL launched an investigation in coordination with the Lebanese Army in order to prevent more attacks.

"These are clear violations of resolution 1701... UNIFIL is working closely with the Lebanese Armed Forces to investigate the incidents and to prevent their recurrence" he said in a statement released after his meeting with Prime Minister Tammam Salam.

the UN speacial coordinator called on parties “to exercise self-restraint”, urging cooperation with UNIFIL forces in implementing resolution 1701 as to prevent any further escalation of events.

The UN Security Council held consultations on the implementation of resolution 1701 in New York last week. Plumply pointed out that the "Council remains united in its support for Lebanon’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and security."

The Lebanese Army has intensified its efforts to track down the perpetrators of recent rocket attacks into Israel, which retaliated with a barrage of artillery fire on south Lebanon.

In a statement, the military said Army forces continued to pursue the perpetrators involved in firing two rockets at 10:30 p.m. Monday from an area south of Tyre toward Israel.

The Army said an investigation was also ongoing in coordination with the U.N. Interim Force in Lebanon.

The statement said Israel responded by bombarding the outskirts of Qleileh and Maalieh with 31 artillery shells. No casualties were reported, the statement added.

It said the Army sealed off the area where the rockets were believed to have been fired from and immediately began patrolling the region.

The state-run National News Agency said earlier that Israel had bombarded the environs of Batoulieh and Ras al-Ain near the Palestinian refugee camp of Rashidieh on the outskirts of Tyre at a rate of one shell every minute between 11 p.m. and midnight.

The Israeli shelling came after two rockets were fired at Israel from south Lebanon Monday night, in the fourth such attack in as many days, security sources told The Daily Star.

The rockets were launched from the area of Qleileh near Tyre. The Israeli army confirmed that the projectiles hit the Jewish state, prompting Israeli artillery to shell the launch site.

Some of the rockets launched since Friday were fired from the same area.

NNA said security forces blocked the coastal highway between Tyre and the border town of Naqoura as a safety measure.

Lebanese authorities have arrested a suspect near Rashidieh in connection with the recent rocket attacks into Israel, a security source told The Daily Star.

The source said the Army had imposed strict measures in the region south of the Litani River that is bound by U.N. Resolution 1701, which ended Israel’s 2006 war on Lebanon.

The resolution bans Hezbollah from maintaining an armed presence in the area, restricting the area to forces from the Army and the U.N. Interim Force in Lebanon.

Meanwhile, Foreign Affairs Minister Gebran Bassil said he would lodge a complaint at the U.N. Security Council against Israel's recent attacks on Lebanon.

"We will take such a measure, but we are waiting to gather the facts to finalize the case and then send the complaint to the Security Council," Bassil told reporters at Beirut airport after arriving from Brazil.

"Someone is trying to use Lebanon as a launching pad to respond to Israel over events in Gaza. This is not the policy of the state, and it is taking measures against these sporadic groups."

"But that doesn't mean Israel can attack Lebanon."





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