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  • 8/4/2010

Israel kills four Lebanese in cross-border attack

israel lebanon

The Israeli military attacked Lebanon on Tuesday, killing three Lebanese soldiers and one Lebanese journalist in the most serious violence along the frontier since the 2006 war.

Lebanese officials reported that one Israeli soldier was also killed and several Israeli soldiers were wounded as Lebanese and Israeli troops traded fire along their tense border.

The Iranian Foreign Ministry issued a statement categorically condemning the Zionist regime’s attack on Lebanon and saying Iran is pursuing the issue “sensitively”.

The Zionist’s regime’s long history of attacks and imposition of wars and its recent adventurism have raised concern that Israel will launch another war against Lebanon, the Iranian Foreign Ministry said.

The Zionist regime’s new approach toward Lebanon’s internal affairs, which aims to promote domestic sedition, shows Israel’s animosity toward the country, and the Lebanese nation must maintain unity in order to maintain the stability of the country, the statement added.

The Zionist regime, which is under pressure due to the international community’s condemnations of its crimes against the Gazans and the Freedom Flotilla, recently attacked Gaza and Lebanon to deflect attention from the atrocities it is committing, the Iranian Foreign Ministry said.

Lebanon's Hezbollah TV, Al-Manar, said a senior Israeli officer had been killed but there was no immediate confirmation from the Israeli military or the Lebanese army.

A Lebanese security official said several Israeli soldiers had been wounded in the clashes, which were apparently sparked when Israeli soldiers attempted to uproot a tree on the Lebanese side of the fenced border, Agence France-Presse reported.

He said Israel had used loudspeakers calling in Arabic for a ceasefire in order to remove casualties.

Four hours after the clashes began at around noon (0900 GMT), the area was reported to be quiet.

Lebanese President Michel Suleiman convened an emergency meeting of his top defense officials.

Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri “denounced the Israeli violations of Lebanese sovereignty.” His office said he also contacted Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to discuss “ways to confront the Israeli aggression against the Lebanese army.”

The “violation of Lebanese sovereignty and demands ... the United Nations and the international community bear their responsibilities and pressure Israel to stop its aggression,” a statement from Hariri's office said.

Tuesday's clashes marked the deadliest incident along the border since Israel’s devastating war on the people of Lebanon in 2006.

Hezbollah took no part in Tuesday's fighting, which erupted in its stronghold.

Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah was expected to address the incident in an already scheduled and highly anticipated speech on Tuesday night.

A Lebanese security official in the area told AFP the Israeli troops had opened fire first.

'The Israelis fired four shells (from a tank) that fell near a Lebanese army position on the outskirts of the village of Adaysseh and the Lebanese army fired back,” the official said, adding that two houses were damaged.

A Lebanese army spokesman said the clashes erupted after Israeli soldiers attempted to uproot a tree, which blocked their view, with a large crane on the Lebanese side of the fenced border.

“The Israelis began to fire and we responded,” he said.

An AFP correspondent in Adaysseh said soldiers from UNIFIL's Indonesian contingent tried to no avail to calm the situation before the clashes erupted.

Ambulances rushed to the village as residents panicked with many fleeing.

The UN force urged “maximum restraint” following the clashes along the so-called blue line, a UN-drawn border.

“Our immediate priority at this time is to restore calm in the area,” UNIFIL spokesman Neeraj Singh told AFP.

“Acting force commander Brigadier General Santi Bonfanti is in contact with the command of both the Lebanese Armed Forces and the Israeli Defense Forces urging maximum restraint.”

Syria condemned what it said was Israel's “heinous aggression.”

“President Bashar al-Assad on Tuesday telephoned Lebanese President Michel Suleiman and expressed Syria's support for Lebanon against the heinous aggression launched by Israel on Lebanon,” state news agency SANA reported.

“President Assad considers that this aggression proves once more that Israel has always been seeking to destabilize security and stability in Lebanon and the region,” SANA said.

Adaysseh is located about 30 kilometers (19 miles) east of the coastal city of Tyre.

Abu Ali, a resident of Adaysseh, said Israeli helicopters could be seen overflying the village some two hours after the incident which erupted shortly after noon (0900 GMT).

Sources: tehrantimes.com

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