'IDF soldiers did not cross border'

Netanyahu, Barak issue strong reactions to events.

By JPOST.COM STAFF
August 3, 2010 19:42
2 minute read.
This map reflects the exact location of the incident, just north of the Israeli town of Misgav-Am in

Lebanon Israel border map. (photo credit: Courtesy)

The IDF released an aerial photograph Tuesday night, showing that the IDF soldiers involved in deadly clashes with Lebanese forces on Tuesday were standing in Israeli territory when they were fired upon, and did not cross the Lebanese border. This information was also reportedly confirmed by a UNIFIL representative.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak responded Tuesday to news of the fatal northern border clashes in which an IDF soldier and 4 Lebanese were killed.

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"I hold the Lebanese government directly responsible for this provocation," Netanyahu said.

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He added that Israel would continue to respond with force to any further attempts to violate the ceasefire and disturb the lives of residents of the north and the IDF troops who protect them.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak issued a warning to the Lebanese government, saying that Israel would not tolerate any attacks on citizens or soldiers on its "sovereign territory", and called on the international community to condemn the "criminal acts of the Lebanese army.

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman instructed Israel's UN representative to submit a complaint to the UN Secretary General and Security Council, citing a violation of UN Resolution 1701. The complaint was made on the basis that Lebanese forces had opened fire despite the fact that the IDF had given prior warning to UNIFIL of their intention to cross the fence in order to cut down a tree, still within Israeli territory, since the fence does not always exactly parallel the border.

Speaking at a press briefing on Tuesday afternoon, GOC Northern Command Maj. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot called the incident a "deliberate ambush."

Reactions to the day's events also emerged from Lebanese and Syrian leaders, with Syrian President Bashar Assad saying that Syria would stand behind Lebanon and provide any necessary support.

'Lebanon will respond to every agression'

AFP reported Lebanon's Supreme Defense Council Secretary General Saeed Eid as saying:

 "Following consultations, the council ordered the country to respond to every aggression against our land, our military, or our civilians with all the means at our disposal."

According to Reuters, a US State Department spokesperson said on Tuesday that the United States was in touch with both Israeli and Lebanese governments, and is  "extremely concerned" about violence on the border, urging both sides to exercise "maximum restraint."

Earlier in the day, Kiryat Shmona Mayor Nissim Malcha told Channel 10 that there is no need for northern residents to enter bomb shelters.

"I have alerted all security forces to be ready for any situation," he said. "I hope that this is an isolated incident."

Also speaking after the incident, Northern District Commander Maj. Gen. Shlomo Koron confirmed that no Katushya rockets fell in the area.

Upper Galilee Regional Council Head Aharon Valenzia called on the large number of people enjoying vacations and day trips in the north to continue what they are doing without fear.

Valenzia said that because of the exchange of fire on the northern border his office was in contact with IDF officials in order to provide a response to any possible scenario.


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