Israeli Warplanes Fly over Lebanon, Break Sound Barrier near Syrian Station
Israeli warplanes flew over much of Lebanon on Tuesday, breaking the sound barrier over Syria's main area of military control in the country, AFP correspondents reported.
Israeli planes flew at high altitude near Sidon, then 45 kilometers (30 miles) north to Beirut and broke the sound barrier over Baalbeck, the city in the Syrian-dominated Bekaa Valley that is a stronghold of the militant Shiite movement Hizbollah.
Israel has stepped up flights over Lebanon in the past month after Hizbollah captured three Israeli soldiers on border patrol in hopes of swapping them for Arabs detained by Israel.
The Jewish state almost completely halted such flights when it withdrew from south Lebanon in May, ending a 22-year occupation.
Timour Goksel, a spokesman for UN peacekeepers in Lebanon, said Thursday that Israeli aircraft violated Lebanese airspace 123 times between October 8 and November 8 and that the UN has protested to no avail.
Lebanese President Emile Lahoud has denounced the Israeli flights as acts of war – BEIRUT (AFP)
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