Suleiman vows better weapons

Lebanese president tours site of border clash; addresses LAF.

By JPOST.COM STAFF
August 7, 2010 16:58
2 minute read.
Lebanese President Michel Suleiman

Michel suleiman 311. (photo credit: AP)

 
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The president of Lebanon toured Saturday the area where IDF soldiers and Lebanese army forces clashed on Tuesday resulting in the deaths of three Lebanese soldiers, a Lebanese journalist and an Israel soldier, DPA reported.

While speaking to members of his country's army, President Michel Suleiman vowed to provide the Lebanese Armed Forces with "more advanced equipment" in order to "protect the dignity of the nation" against "Israeli agression."

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Suleiman met with UN officials in the area and stated the importance of complying with UN Security Council Resolution 1701 that ended the Second Lebanon War in 2006.

While conducting routine maintenance on the border near Kibbutz Misgav Am on Tuesday, Lebanese soldiers fired shots in the direction of Israeli soldiers, killing Lt.-Col. (res) Dov Harari and injuring Capt. Ezra Lakia.

The IDF responded with heavy tank fire at an Lebanese position just over the border, killing three soldiers and a Lebanese journalist. Lebanese soldiers then fired rocket-propelled grenades at an Israeli tank south of the border.

IDF artillery began pounding the area, and a number of IAF attack helicopters were dispatched to bomb a Lebanese Armed Forces command center in the southern Lebanese town of Taiba. The center was heavily damaged, as were a number of LAF armored personnel carriers parked nearby.



On Wednesday Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu blamed the Lebanese Armed Forces for initiating the violence.

“I want it to be clear to Hamas, as well as to the Lebanese government, which we hold responsible for the violent provocations against our soldiers: Do not test our determination to protect Israeli citizens and soldiers. Our policy is clear. Israel responds and will continue to respond forcibly to every attack against its citizens and soldiers,” the prime minister said.

“It appears that there are those who understand this and have tried to evade responsibility for their crimes,” he added.

Separately, he issued an English statement, both in print and on video, in which he called on the international community to condemn the Lebanese attack in light of Wednesday’s statement by UNIFIL peacekeepers that the trees the IDF was removing along the security fence was located in Israel.

Lebanon claimed it had shot at Israeli soldiers after they crossed 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 UNIFIL 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.”

Netanyahu said that now was the time for the world to speak out against such aggression.

TOVAH LAZAROFF,  HERB KEINON AND YAAKOV KATZ contributed to this report

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