Drifting Israeli balloons spark panic in Lebanon

By
January 29, 2007 20:30

 
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Balloons drifting from Israel into southern Lebanon sparked a panic among villagers over the weekend amid rumors they were filled with poison gas. The balloons were apparently part of an advertising campaign by a newspaper in northern Israel. Results of tests conducted by UN peacekeepers in southern Lebanon showed the balloons did not contain any dangerous gases, a Lebanese security official said Monday. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to give statements to the media. Haaretz reported Sunday that helium balloons from a promotional event by Ha'ir, a chain of local newspapers, had floated north over the border into Lebanon. Still, their appearance spread alarm among Lebanese - a sign of the tensions and suspicion that remain in the border region after last summer's war between Israel and Hizbullah that devastated much of the south.

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