Israeli warplanes continue to violate Lebanese airspace
Israeli warplanes made repeated reconnaissance overflights deep into Lebanon for the second consecutive day Friday, acts that Lebanese officials claim were aimed at escalating soaring Mideast tensions amid U.S. plans to attack Iraq.
Lebanese security officials said two fighter jets on a reconnaissance mission flew over the eastern city of Baalbek, 100 kilometers northeast of Beirut, at medium altitude for several minutes.
According to AP, residents in the southeastern town of Hasbaya and the southern town of Marjayoun also reported hearing jets breaking the sound barrier with two sonic booms.
Lebanese Defense Minister Khalil Harawi said the overflights "show Israel's rejection of the logic of peace."
Harawi said the Security Council had urged Israel to stop violating Lebanese skies, adding that Lebanon was confronting the "violations through diplomatic and military means."
"Through this tension (Israel) is trying to play a role in the Iraqi crisis. It seeks to be present on the Middle East arena through its military power," he said in an interview with the Voice of Lebanon radio station.
Israeli warplanes staged mockraids over Palestinian refugee camps in southern Lebanon late Thursday. Other violations of Lebanese airspace were recorded over the port of Tyre further south and the inland city of Nabatiyeh, police said.
© 2003 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)