IAF fighter jets fly low over Lebanon

French anti-aircraft units take "essential steps"; no hostile action reported.

IAF fighter jet 298 (photo credit: AP)
IAF fighter jet 298
(photo credit: AP)
Anti-aircraft units of the French UN peacekeeping force took what they called "essential preparatory steps" when IAF air force jets flew low over south Lebanon on Friday, a spokesman said. No hostile action from either side was reported in the incident, which was the second time in three weeks that French forces have come close to firing on Israeli aircraft overflying Lebanon. Milos Strugar, senior adviser to the UN force commander, said the French action came after Israeli aircraft flew low over the French battalion's area on Friday. He would not be more specific on the "steps" taken by the French anti-aircraft units. Israel Radio said that according to a Lebanese Free Radio report, the jets performed dummy attacks on Lebanese villages south of the Litani River and on the Kar'on Lake area. Reportedly, similar dummy attacks were drilled earlier over the Shaba Farms and Marajoun areas. Lebanese news agencies added that IDF jets carried out forays at greater heights over Jezin, Nabatiya and Tufah. The IDF did not give detailed accounts of the morning sorties, but confirmed that the flights over Lebanon were continuing. Last Saturday, Israel refused to heed a renewed request by the United Nations to stop its surveillance flights over Lebanon. Israel insists the flights are necessary to monitor violations of UN resolution 1701 to ensure that there are no armed terror groups in southern Lebanon. The international community, in turn, is of the opinion that the flights themselves are a violation of UN resolution 1701. "We have made strong protests to the Israelis regarding these violations. We have asked them to cease these actions, which are in violation of 1701," the United Nations spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters a week ago. But an Israeli government official said that the flights are necessary because the international community has failed to ensure the full implementation of UN resolution 1701. Tovah Lazaroff contributed to this report.