bashar assad 311.
(photo credit: AP)
The United States is urging that both Israel and Lebanon exhibit “maximum restraint” to avoid escalating hostilities between the two countries, after Tuesday’s deadly skirmish on the northern border.
US State Department Spokesman PJ Crowley described the Obama administration as “extremely concerned” about Tuesday’s violence along the Israel-Lebanon border zone. He said American officials are in touch with both sides, as well as with the UNIFIL mission there, to ascertain what happened.
'At least four Lebanese killed in border
Photo gallery: Unrest on the border
“We deeply regret the loss of life,” he said. “We urge both sides to exercise maximum restraint to avoid an escalation and maintain the cease-fire that is now in place.”
The British government it was “very concerned” with recent rocket fire from Gaza into Israel and condemned both Israel and Lebanon for Tuesday’s northern border incident.
“We are very concerned by the recent rocket fire on towns in southern Israel, continuing violence in Gaza and today’s violence on the Israeli-Lebanon border, all of which underline the importance, for the region as a whole, of all parties committing to a lasting peace,” a Foreign Office spokesman said on Tuesday. “We condemn the violence today that led to deaths on both sides and call on Israel and Lebanon to act with restraint.”
Meanwhile, Lebanese and Syrian leaders responded sharply in the aftermath of the cross-border shooting.
Syrian President Bashar Assad told Lebanese President Michel Suleiman that Syria would stand behind Lebanon and provide any necessary support, the Syrian state news agency SANA reported.
The IDF fire “proves once again that Israel is constantly working to destabilize security in Lebanon and the region,” SANA quoted Assad as saying.
Suleiman sounded a strongly defiant note in reaction to Tuesday’s event, which left an IDF officer, three Lebanese soldiers and one Lebanese journalist dead.
Suleiman reportedly exclaimed that his country would “stand up to Israel’s violation of UN Resolution 1701 – whatever the cost.” The resolution led to a cease-fire which ended the Second Lebanon War in 2006.
Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri also castigated IDF fire across the
Israeli-Lebanese border on Tuesday.
Israel’s actions were a “violation of Lebanese sovereignty and
demands... The United Nations and the international community [must]
bear their responsibilities and pressure Israel to stop its aggression,”
Hariri said, in a statement quoted by AFP.
Hizbullah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah warns that if Israel targets
the Lebanese military again, his force will act.
In a speech, Nasrallah praised the Lebanese army for its “heroic
confrontation” with Israeli forces on the border.
Hizbullah was not involved in Tuesday’s fighting, but Nasrallah warned
that “the arm that extends itself against the Lebanese army will be cut
by the resistance,” referring to Hizbullah.