IDF Spokesperson: At 12:07, Lebanese soldiers opened fire on an IDF force clearing trees and brush along the technical fence south of the Blue Line (the internationally recognized border between Israel and Lebanon). This routine operation, which takes place on a monthly basis, occurred in Israeli territory and was fully coordinated in advance with UNIFIL. One Israeli officer was killed and one was seriously injured.
Lt. Naresh Bhatt, a spokesman for the U.N. peacekeeping force in south Lebanon, UNIFIL, said Wednesday (4 August) that while they were still investigating the violence, "UNIFIL has established, however, that the trees being cut by the Israeli army are located south of the Blue Line on the Israeli side."
- UNIFIL: IDF had coordinated previously and was operating within Israeli territory
UNIFIL Spokesman Milos Struger: "I can confirm that we received notification from the IDF early in the morning about this work, and we conveyed this to Lebanese army."
- Audio + Transcript of Israel Army Radio's Interview with UNIFIL Spokesman, Milos Struger
Mark Regev, Foreign Media Adviser to PM Netanyahu: "The UN announcement today clearly corroborates the Israeli version of events. Our routine activity yesterday was conducted entirely SOUTH of the frontier - on the Israeli side - and that the Lebanese Army opened fire without any provocation or justification whatsoever."
US State Dept daily briefing - Aug 4, 2010: "The United Nations has now established that the trees cut by the Israeli Defense Forces were on the Israeli side of the line that separates Israel and Lebanon. The firing by Lebanese Armed Forces was wholly unjustified and unwarranted. And we call on both sides to continue to exercise maximum restraint to avoid any escalation of tensions and to coordinate their operations near the border with UNIFIL to avoid similar incidents in the future."
IDF force clearing trees and brush inside Israeli territory (Photo: Reuters)
(Communicated by the MFA Spokesperson)
Israel views the firing from Lebanon on an Israel Defense Force patrol, which was operating along the Lebanese border in coordination with UNIFIL, as a severe violation of UN Security Council Resolution 1701. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Avigdor Liberman has instructed the Israeli diplomatic delegation to the United Nations to file a protest with the UN Secretary General and the Security Council.
This recent violation is one of many violations of Resolution 1701, the most severe of which is the massive rearmament of Hizbullah, including the rearmament of Hizbullah units in southern Lebanon.
Israel holds the Lebanese government responsible for the grave incident, and warns of the consequences should these continue.