UNIFIL: We knew about maintenance

IDF to meet with Lebanese Army and UNIFIL officials.

By JPOST.COM STAFF,
August 4, 2010 08:14
2 minute read.
Smoke rises from the southern border village of Adaisseh after an exchange of fire between Israeli a

Israel Lebanon clash. (photo credit: Associated Press)

 
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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 where Lebanese Army forces opened fire on IDF soldiers, killing  Lt.-Col. (res) Dov Harari, Army Radio reported.

"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.

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He added that UNIFIL does not believe IDF soldiers crossed the international border during the maintenance work, but a UNIFIL technical team will investigate Wednesday where the IDF forces were exactly in relation to the border when the Lebanese Army snipers opened fire.

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 2006.

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 violence.

The violence began around noon, when a force from Harari’s reserve battalion entered an enclave along the border and near Kibbutz Misgav Am to conduct the maintenance work. Enclaves refer to land that is sovereign Israeli territory but is on the other side of the border fence, which does not always run directly parallel to the internationally recognized border, known as the Blue Line.



The soldiers were working to cut down a tree when shots were fired in their direction. Capt. Ezra Lakia was shot in the chest by a Lebanese Army sniper, and Harari was shot in the head.

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.

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.

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