Lebanese Army Bars Palestinians Access to Borders with Israel
The Lebanese army prevented Friday Palestinian refugees from reaching the borders with Israel, a day after Israel warned that protestors throwing projectiles over the fence will be target of Israeli fire.
The army intensified checkpoints in the border area, and its troops posted on the coastal road from the town of Naqoura to the Ramia border point stopped cars of protestors heading to the frontier, an AFP correspondent saw.
The soldiers inspected identity cards and forced all cars carrying Palestinian refugees to turn back, he said.
Also Friday, Palestinian refugees in northern Lebanon cancelled a demonstration at the border on the request of the local army command, according to a Palestinian source, which did not want to be identified.
The army move came before Israeli warplanes carried out at midday mock air raids over this main port city and other regions of southern Lebanon, in seemingly pre-emptive warning measures, AFP correspondents said.
Beirut has refused to send security forces to the border itself, saying it has no reason to protect Israel, with which it is still technically at war, from violence.
President Emile Lahoud this week resisted strong western diplomatic pressure to reinforce troops and police in southern Lebanon.
Tension remains high in southern Lebanon, after an escalation of violence in Israel and the Palestinian territories and following an Israeli warning on Thursday that protestors risk coming under fire from Israeli soldiers if they hurl projectiles across the border.
Last Saturday, two Palestinian refugees were killed and 17 other people were wounded in Ramia when Israeli soldiers opened fire at protestors hurling stones and Molotov cocktails from the other side of the borders.
The same day, Hizbollah, which spearheaded the guerrilla war until the May 24 Israeli withdrawal from southern Lebanon after a 22-year occupation, kidnapped three Israeli soldiers in a border commando attack - TYRE, South Lebanon (AFP)
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