'Lebanese president blasts Israeli flyovers'

Michel Sleiman says reported flyovers violate Lebanese sovereignty, attempt to derail stability, Lebanese newspaper reports.

Michel Sleiman 370 (photo credit: REUTERS/Andres Stapff)
Michel Sleiman 370
(photo credit: REUTERS/Andres Stapff)
Lebanese President Michel Sleiman blasted Israel Friday for violating Lebanese sovereignty, Beirut-based The Daily Star reported.
Sleiman accused Israel of advancing its "policy of intimidation" toward Lebanon over the past few days in attempts to derail the country's stability.
Sleiman's remarks came in response to increased rates of reported Israeli flyovers in Lebanese airspace and recent reports that the United States believes Israel had conducted an airstrike into Syria.
On Friday, CNN quoted two US officials as saying Israel most likely conducted the strike "in the Thursday-Friday time frame" and that Israel's warplanes did not enter Syrian airspace.
It said the officials did not believe Israel had targeted a chemical weapons facility. US and Western intelligence bodies were reviewing classified information surrounding the incident, according to the CNN report.
There was no immediate confirmation. A White House spokeswoman referred questions on the CNN report to the Israeli government.
The NBC news network also cited US officials who said Israel launched airstrikes against Syria on Friday and that Israel's primary target was a shipment of weapons headed for Hezbollah in Lebanon.
According to The Daily Star, the Lebanese Army has monitored irregular flight patterns over the past two days in comparison to routine flights of Israeli aircrafts conducted on a near-daily basis.
IAF warplanes flew over southern Lebanon at low altitudes on Friday morning, alarming Lebanese civilian and officials, The Daily Star reported.
The planes flew over the town of Bint Jbeil in the Nabatiye Governorate of southern Lebanon, according to the report.
“Israel is closely monitoring the Lebanese-Syrian border to stop any big arms shipment and possible smuggling of chemical weapons from Syria,” The Daily Star quoted a security source as saying.
Last Friday, the official Lebanese National News Agency reported Lebanese Armed Forces and UNIFIL troops had increased their observation activities on the Israel-Lebanon border.
The increased activity came a day after the Israel Air Force shot down a drone that flew south from Lebanon over the Mediterranean Sea about eight kilometers off the coast of Haifa. Hezbollah, who had a drone shot down by the IAF in the Negev in October, denied having sent an unmanned aerial vehicle to Israel on Thursday.
The report added that IAF jets and helicopters had been witnessed flying over towns in southern Lebanon on Friday.
Reuters contributed to this report.