Lebanon: Israeli raid a flagrant violation of truce


Richard Moore

What is Israel's goal here? Israel most certainly knows that Hezbollah will not 
be slowed down one bit by a few more air raids. However it would be hardly 
surprising if Hezbollah were to retaliate by lobbing a few missiles toward 
Israel if Israel continues to break the cease-fire. It seems that the 'threat of
peace' is the one thing that Israeli leaders fear more than anything else.


Original source URL:


Lebanon: Raid a Œflagrant violation¹ of truce
Israeli forces strike Hezbollah stronghold; Lebanon seeks U.N. action
MSNBC News Services

Updated: 1:23 p.m. ET Aug. 19, 2006

BEIRUT, Lebanon - Israeli commandos raided a Hezbollah stronghold deep inside 
Lebanon Saturday, sparking a fierce clash with militants that left one Israeli 
soldier dead. Lebanon called the raid a ³flagrant violation² of the 
U.N.-brokered cease-fire, while Israel said it was aimed at disrupting arms 
smuggling from Iran and Syria.

Lebanese Defense Minister Elias Murr threatened to halt the army¹s deployment in
south Lebanon if the United Nations does not take up the issue of the raid.

³If there are no clear answers forthcoming on this issue, I might be forced to 
recommend to the Cabinet early next week the halt of the army deployment in the 
south,² Murr told reporters after a meeting with U.N. representatives.

Witnesses said Israeli missiles destroyed a bridge during the raid in what would
be the first such airstrike since the cease-fire took effect on Monday, ending 
34 days of warfare between the two sides.

U.N. official raises red flag

A senior U.N. envoy said if media reports about the raid were true, it would 
constitute a clear violation of the U.N.-brokered truce that halted the war 
between Israel and Hizbollah.

"We had no independent means to verify ... what has happened. But if what has 
been reported is correct, it is of course a clear violation of the cease-fire," 
Terje Roed-Larsen told Lebanon's LBC television.

The Israeli army said the special forces operation aimed ³to prevent and 
interfere with terror activity against Israel, especially the smuggling of arms 
from Iran and Syria to Hezbollah.²

The army said that such operations would be carried out until ³an effective 
monitoring unit² of Lebanese or multinational troops was in place to prevent 
Hezbollah from rebuilding its arsenal.

Hezbollah TV and Lebanese security officials said Israeli helicopters dropped 
off a commando team outside the village of Boudai west of Baalbek in eastern 

The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not 
authorized to release information to the media, said the Israelis apparently 
were seeking a guerrilla target in a nearby school but had no other details.

The officials also reported heavy overflights of Israeli jets.

Lebanon¹s swift condemnation of the operation highlighted the fragility of the 
6-day-old truce as the United Nations pleaded for nations to contribute to an 
international peacekeeping force due to patrol southern Lebanon.

The first small contingent of reinforcements for the peacekeeping force ‹ 49 
French soldiers ‹ landed Saturday at the southern Lebanese coastal town of 
Naqoura, with 200 more expected next week.

But Deputy U.N. Secretary-General Mark Malloch Brown said more countries need to
step forward to fill out a vanguard of 3,500 troops that the U.N. wants on the 
ground by Aug. 28 to help ensure that the truce between Israel and Lebanon holds
after 34 days of warfare.

Lebanese condemn raid

Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Saniora called Saturday¹s commando raid a ³flagrant
violation² of the cease-fire, and said he would take the issue up with U.N. 
Secretary General Kofi Annan.

Under the cease-fire terms, Israel has said it will conduct defensive operations
if its troops are threatened. But the raid took place far from positions of 
Israeli troops in southern Lebanon.

³If the Syrians and Iran continue to arm Hezbollah in violation of the (U.N. 
cease-fire) resolution, Israel is entitled to act to defend the principle of the
arms embargo,² Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev said. ³Once the 
Lebanese army and the international forces are active ... then such Israeli 
activity will become superfluous.²

Such a bold operation, jeopardizing the cease-fire, suggested Israel was going 
after a major target near Baalbek ‹ perhaps to rescue two Israeli soldiers 
snatched by Hezbollah on July 12, or to try to capture a senior guerrilla 
official to trade for the soldiers.

Impasse over kidnapped soldiers

Hezbollah has said it wants to exchange the two soldiers for Arab prisoners, but
the U.N. cease-fire resolution demands Hezbollah unconditionally release the 

The Israeli commandos were dropped by helicopter on a hill outside the village 
of Boudai west of Baalbek and apparently were seeking a guerrilla target in a 
nearby school, Lebanese security officials said, speaking on condition of 
anonymity because they are not authorized to release information to the media.

Local media said Sheik Mohammed Yazbeck, a senior Hezbollah official in the 
Bekaa and a member of the Shura council of the group, may have been the target. 
Yazbeck is a native of Boudai.

Hezbollah TV said the guerrillas foiled the raid. Israel said one of its 
military officers was killed and two other soldiers were wounded, but the force 
completed its mission.

Disputed death toll

Lebanese security officials said three guerrillas were killed and three were 
wounded, but a Hezbollah spokesman said none of his fighters died.

Hezbollah officials at the scene said the Israeli commandos brought two vehicles
with them that they used to drive into Boudai. They identified themselves as the
Lebanese army when intercepted by Hezbollah fighters in a field, but the 
guerrillas grew suspicious and gunfire erupted, according to the officials.

Israeli helicopters fired missiles as the commandos withdrew and flew out of the
area an hour later, they said.

Witnesses saw bandages and syringes at the landing site outside Boudai, about 10
miles west of Baalbek and 15 miles west of the Syrian border, the Israelis 
suffered casualties. A bridge was destroyed bridge about 500 yards from the area
in what witnesses said was an Israeli airstrike.

Baalbek is the birthplace of the Iranian and Syrian-backed Hezbollah. The area 
in the eastern Bekaa Valley, 60 miles north of the Israeli border, is a major 
guerrilla stronghold.

Scene of previous raid

On Aug. 2, Israeli commandos targeted the Iranian-funded, Hezbollah-run Dar 
al-Hikma Hospital in Baalbek. The commando assault and Israeli strikes around 
the ancient town killed 16 people, according to Lebanese police. Baalbek 
residents said the Israelis took four people as prisoners, and that none were 
Hezbollah fighters.

Israel had said the building was a Hezbollah base, not a hospital, and that its 
soldiers captured five guerrilla fighters and killed 10 others before 

Lebanese Foreign Minister Fawzi Salloukh told reporters he protested the Israeli
violation in talks with U.N. envoy Terje Roed-Larsen in Beirut on Saturday and 
said the U.N. team would raise the issue with Israeli authorities.

³If Israel continues its violations, it is the responsibility of the (U.N.) 
Security Council to take action and ask Israel to stop these violations,² 
Salloukh said.

Also Saturday, a Lebanese civilian was killed when unexploded Israeli munitions 
from the offensive detonated in the village of Ras al-Ein, outside Tyre, said 
the Syrian Baath Party, of which the man was a member.

Roed-Larsen said the cease-fire brought a ³huge opportunity² for the Lebanese 
government to extend its authority over southern Lebanon, which has been 
dominated for years by Hezbollah guerrillas.

International force takes shape

Under the cease-fire plan, some 15,000 Lebanese troops are to move into the 
south, backed by the beefed-up U.N. peacekeeping force known as UNIFIL, as 
Israeli forces withdraw. Once there, the troops are to enforce the cease-fire. 
Lebanon has said Hezbollah will not be allowed to bring its weapons out in 
public ‹ though it has not said whether it will try the more controversial step 
of disarming the guerrillas.

The Lebanese army has deployed more than 1,500 troops in three sectors that 
Israeli forces have left, and the U.N. force ‹ which currently numbers 2,000 ‹ 
has set up checkpoints and started patrolling the areas.

The 49 French troops that landed by inflatable dinghy at Naqoura were the first 
forces in the expansion of UNIFIL, which is planned to reach 15,000 soldiers.

So far, Italy and Finland have promised troops ‹ and in an effort to encourage 
more countries to sign on, Annan said the peacekeeping force would not ³wage 
war² on Israel, Lebanon, or Hezbollah militants.

³It is not expected to achieve by force what must be realized through 
negotiation and an internal Lebanese consensus,² Annan said in a report to the 
U.N. Security Council on implementation of the Aug. 11 cease-fire resolution.

A key concern of many countries is whether the U.N. force will be called on to 
disarm Hezbollah fighters, as called for in a September 2004 U.N. resolution. 
They want to study the rules of engagement and concept of operations for the 
force before making a decision on troops.

Malloch Brown said countries needed to understand that the force would not be 
offensive. ³It¹s not going to go in there and attempt large-scale disarmament,² 
he said.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.
URL: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/14420157/

© 2006 MSNBC.com

Escaping the Matrix website     http://escapingthematrix.org/
cyberjournal website            http://cyberjournal.org
subscribe cyberjournal list     mailto:•••@••.•••
Posting archives                http://cyberjournal.org/show_archives/
  cyberjournal forum            http://cyberjournal-rkm.blogspot.com/
  Achieving real democracy      http://harmonization.blogspot.com/
  for readers of ETM            http://matrixreaders.blogspot.com/
  Community Empowerment http://empowermentinitiatives.blogspot.com/
  Blogger made easy             http://quaylargo.com/help/ezblogger.html