Routine Maintenance Work By IDF Leads To Clashes With Lebanon, IDF Commander Shot Dead By Lebanese In Unprovoked Attack

Since maintenance work is likely done by both sides, Israel and Lebanon, on a regular basis, the attack on Israel was timed in an odd fashion. UNIFIL, peacekeeping forces, were alerted by Israel that a tree was being removed which obstructed visibility, although the Israelis did not enter Lebanon. UNIFIL then alerted the Lebanese that some maintenance was being done toward the end of the Israeli border. The fence, moreover, does not mark the end of Israeli territory so Israel was within its rights for being in that area. Lebanese President Michel Suleiman has come out with inane statements pressing his country to "stand up to Israel’s violation of UN Resolution 1701 – whatever the cost." Even Iran's fascist president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has come out with statements condemning the Jews which are being reported on Iranian media propaganda sites. Yet all evidence suggests the Lebanese were (and are) looking for a fight. Amazingly even UNIFIL has said that Israel did not cross the "Blue Line" and remained on their side, thereby exonerating the Israelis of any wrong doing. It is important to consider that Lebanese snipers, moreover, shot at a commander who was considerably far away from the border. Lebanese forces were wearing body armor when they ambushed the Israelis, clearly coming for and prepared to wage a war. The IDF commander sustained a fatal injury in the chest and wouldn't have had he been wearing armor. The shots, from the Lebanese sniper, were done at close range (at least for a sniper) and appear to the observer as being extremely cowardly. This reeks of political propaganda to take the attention off issues within Lebanon at the expense of shooting a couple Israelis and possibly instigating larger-scale violence. Perhaps Lebanon's government is hoping to deflect UN indictments against them for the assassination of Rafic Hariri. Not that the UN, which is controlled by rogue regimes and Islamic nations, would do much anyway.

Israel initiated no violence, just like past times. Israel is put in unreal situations where they are forced to respond to acts of war and violence by their Arab neighbors. Don't expect the United Nations to pass a resolution condemning Lebanon's violence, however.

From the Jerusalem Post:
Israel vowed to respond harshly to further Lebanese aggression after a reserve battalion commander was killed on Tuesday and another soldier was seriously wounded in the worst violence along the northern border since the 2006 Second Lebanon War.

Lt.-Col. (res.) Dov Harari [pictured], 45, from Netanya, was shot dead by a sniper from the Lebanese Armed Forces, and a company commander from his battalion, Capt. Ezra Lakia, sustained a gunshot wound to the chest. By Tuesday evening, Lakia was in stable condition at Rambam Medical Center in Haifa.

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 routine 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 had coordinated their movement beyond the fence with UNIFIL and were working to cut down a tree when shots were fired in their direction. 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 has noticed an increase lately in anti-Israel rhetoric among senior LAF commanders. The LAF company commander responsible for the area where the attack took place recently took up his post and, the IDF believes, might have interpreted the recent rise in rhetoric to mean that he could take matters into his own hands.

Israel is concerned with the radicalization that the LAF has undergone over the past year, including the assistance it provides Hizbullah in hiding its arms caches and operations throughout southern Lebanon.

“Israel will not stand by as its soldiers and citizens are attacked,” Defense Minister Ehud Barak said on Tuesday, adding that the IDF would continue to operate in all of its sovereign territory, including within the enclaves between the fence and the Blue Line border.

OC Northern Command Maj.-Gen. Gadi Eizenkot said the Lebanese soldiers had planned to attack the troops and used the crossing of the fence as an excuse.

“This was a deliberate ambush,” Eizenkot said. “This was a provocation by the LAF, and we view the shooting severely.”

Eizenkot said that following Israel’s harsh response, the LAF transmitted a request via UNIFIL to the IDF, asking for a cease-fire.

“I believe that this is an isolated incident, but it is the gravest incident since the Second Lebanon War, and that is why we responded the way we did,” he said.

IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi flew to the northern border on Tuesday to oversee operations. The army stressed that it had coordinated its crossing of the fence with UNIFIL, informing them of a need to carry out maintenance work across the fence but still within Israel.

Lebanese President Michel Suleiman called on his country to “stand up to Israel’s violation of UN Resolution 1701 – whatever the cost.”

Security Council Resolution 1701 brokered the cease-fire that ended the Second Lebanon War.

UNIFIL leaders called on the IDF and the LAF to exercise “maximum restraint.”

“The first priority is to calm the region,” a spokesman for the international peacekeeping force said.

Military sources said that on Wednesday the IDF would return to the enclave near Misgav Am. “We will continue to work as usual and will cut down the tree,” one officer said.

Also on Wednesday, the IDF will participate in a trilateral meeting with UNIFIL and LAF representatives at Nakoura, Lebanon, to discuss Tuesday’s violence and attempt to create guidelines that will prevent similar incidents.

There were reports of a Katyusha rocket fired into Israel during the clashes, but the claims were not substantiated by the IDF, which said no rocket strikes had been identified.

The attack came a day after six rockets hit near Eilat, including one in Jordan that killed a man outside Aqaba’s Intercontinental Hotel.

Kiryat Shmona Mayor Nissim Malcha told Channel 10 on Tuesday afternoon that there was no need for northern residents to enter bomb shelters.

“I hope that this is an isolated incident,” he said.

Upper Galilee Regional Council head Aharon Valenzia called on the large number of people enjoying vacations and day trips in the North to continue what they were doing without fear.

0 comments. Leave a comment below.:

Post a Comment

Spam and abuse will not be published. You can use some HTML tags in your comments.

Thank you for reading and commenting.