'Lebanon declares border closed military zone'

June 2, 2011 15:41

Report: Lebanese Army closes off border with Israel to keep pro-Palestinian 'Naksa Day' protesters from facing IDF.

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Palestinian women celebrate Nakba day, May 2010.

nakba day_311 reuters. (photo credit: Sharif Karim / Reuters)

The Lebanese Army declared the area near the border with Israel a closed military zone on Thursday as Naksa Day approached, The Daily Star reported.

A source told the Lebanese daily that the move was meant to prevent keep protesters from the border in order to prevent them from facing IDF soldiers.

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IDF readies ‘firm, but non-lethal’ response along borders
Palestinians prepare for ‘Naksa’ marches on borders

A planned rally on the border "could be replaced by celebrations at the Khiam detention center," four kilometers from the border, the source told The Daily Star.

The IDF is taking extra precautions and preparing a firm but non-lethal response to any attempt to force the nation’s borders in the coming days, as Palestinians plan mass marches to mark Arab losses in the Six Day War.

Near Moshav Avivim, troops have fortified the border fence with Lebanon and set up new lookout posts, the radio station reported.

The IDF Northern Command has ordered soldiers on the Syrian and Lebanese borders to follow the usual rules of engagement before opening fire. They are instructed to shout warnings at protesters approaching the border, then, should those instructions be ignored, to fire warning shots in the air, a military source said on Wednesday.

If marchers continue to approach the fence, troops are ordered to direct nonlethal fire at their lower bodies, the source said.

“We could also use tear gas and stun grenades. But we won’t tolerate the idea that our international borders will become like Bil’in,” the source said.

Yaakov Lappin contributed to this report.

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