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iaf F16 224.88.(Photo by: Courtesy)
Lebanese army fires on IAF jets
10/25/2007
No wounded or damage to aircraft reported; attack was first on Israeli planes since cease-fire.
Lebanese troops opened fire Thursday on IAF warplanes flying low over southern Lebanon, but no hits were reported, Lebanese officials said. Lebanese soldiers opened fire midmorning with machine guns and light anti-aircraft weapons mounted on armored vehicles at two planes that flew by just east of Marjayoun near the border, a Lebanese security official said. A total of 150 rounds were fired, he added. A senior military officer also said the army "confronted" the Israeli planes, but gave no details. It was the first time Lebanese troops had opened fire on Israeli aircraft since the August 14, 2006 cease-fire that ended the Second Lebanon War. It is also the first time since February that the Lebanese army, which deployed in the south after the fighting, has fired on the Israelis. Since the cease-fire, the IAF has conducted regular low-altitude flyovers over southern Lebanon, a tactic that has sparked protests from Arab nations and the international community. The UN has condemned Israel's flyovers. In November 2006, the UNIFIL peacekeeping force's chief liaison officer, Col. Alexan Lalan, told The Jerusalem Post that the daily IAF flyovers were strengthening Hizbullah and creating new militants for the Shi'ite group. "The flyovers harm the credibility of UNIFIL, the credibility of the LAF and the credibility of the state of Lebanon," Lalan said in a phone interview from his office in the southern Lebanese town of Naqoura. "Every flyover creates new Hizbullah militants and new sympathy for Hizbullah since it shows and demonstrates that UNIFIL and the LAF are not powerful and able to stop them," Lalan said. Yaakov Katz contributed to this report.
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