Lebanon might halt army deployment

Defense minister: "We will not send the army to be prey in an Israeli trap."

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August 19, 2006 18:11
1 minute read.
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Lebanon's defense minister threatened on Saturday to halt the Lebanese army's deployment in south Lebanon if the United Nations does not intervene after an IDF commando raid near Baalbek. Defense Minister Elias Murr said Israel's raid in the eastern Bekaa Valley early Saturday was a violation of a UN-imposed cease-fire that ended fighting between Israel and Hizbullah. "If there are no clear answers forthcoming on this issue, I might be forced to recommend to the Cabinet early next week the halt of the army deployment in the south," he told reporters after a meeting with UN representatives. Murr said the IDF operation deep inside Lebanon could spark retaliation, which in turn could lead to Israeli reprisals. He suggested Israel might be trying to provoke a response, so it could have an excuse to attack the Lebanese army. "We will not send the army to be prey in an Israeli trap," he said. He said he believed Hizbullah was committed to the cease-fire, but said he worried Israel was trying to provoke retaliatory attacks from "any group that wants to cause a problem for Lebanon." He did not elaborate on which group that could be. "It could be that they (the Israelis) are pushing it (any group) to fire a rocket on northern Israel, so that Israel can come and attack the Lebanese army," Murr said. He said he was waiting for a response from the UN later Saturday.

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