UNIFIL issued a statement Wednesday saying that the trees being cut down by the IDF Tuesday, which apparently triggered the cross border skirmish that left one IDF officer, three Lebanese troops and a Lebanese journalist dead, were located on the Israeli side of the international border.
"Following the exchange of fire between the Lebanese army and the Israeli army across the Blue Line in El Adeisse yesterday, the UNIFIL investigators were on the ground and commenced investigations," the statement said. "The investigations are still ongoing and the findings will be intimated on conclusion of the investigations. UNIFIL established, however, that the trees being cut by the Israeli army are located south of the Blue Line on the Israeli side."
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The statement read that the "Blue Line must be respected in its entirety by all parties. UNIFIL is in contact with both the parties to keep the situation under control and to ensure that there is no violation of the Blue Line in this area."
The IDF's activities Tuesday in the area of the attack near Kibbutz Misgav Am, an area Jerusalem stressed was between Israel's border fence and the international border, were coordinated with UNIFIL in advance. Israeli officials said that there were three areas on the border where, for topographical reasons, the fence could not be built on the border, but rather only west or south of it, but all in Israel's territory.
A UNIFIL official in southern Lebanon confirmed Wednesday that the IDF informed the organization
of its intention to conduct routine maintenance work Tuesday in the area between Israel's border fence and the international border.
"I can confirm that we received notification from the IDF about the work and we passed the information on to the Lebanese Army," said the Hungarian diplomat who is part of the UNIFIL force in southern Lebanon.
The UN Security Council held a special discussion on Tuesday in response
to Israel's complaint that the Lebanese Army's actions were a violation
of UNSC Resolution 1701, which put an end to the Second Lebanon War in
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that he was worried about the
incident and sorry about the loss of life on both sides. He called on
both Lebanon and Israel to excercise restraint to avoid further
The IDF was scheduled to participate in a trilateral meeting with UNIFIL
and Lebanese Armed Forces representatives at Nakoura, Lebanon on
Wednesday to discuss Tuesday’s border clash.
The trilateral meeting will attempt to create guidelines that will prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future.