UN: Hizbollah attack is a serious violation
An attack on an Israeli army patrol by Lebanese Hizbollah guerrillas in a disputed border area is a "serious violation" of the UN-demarcated frontier, a UN official said Friday.
UN representative Rolf Knutsson said such "violations" of peace and international security threaten a new spiral of violence with "tragic consequences" for civilians trying to rebuild their lives after years of occupation.
He urged the Lebanese authorities to ensure respect of the line left by Israel's withdrawal from Lebanon in May.
The Shiite Muslim guerrillas on Thursday detonated a roadside bomb against the patrol in Shebaa Farms, a disputed area on the Lebanese-Syrian borders occupied by Israel.
An Israeli army spokesman confirmed the blast but said it caused no damage or casualties to the convoy, which continued on its way.
The area in the foothills of Mount Hermon on the Golan Heights was seized by Israel from Syria in the 1967 Middle East war. The area is now claimed by Lebanon with Syria's accord.
The Hizbollah statement said the attack was "part of the decision of the Islamic Resistance to liberate the remaining occupied Lebanese territories."
"It is also to continue to confront the enemy who is committing massacres every day against our families and people in occupied Palestine and who commits aggressions against Lebanon every day with air, ground and sea violations," it said.
It was the first Hizbollah strike since the group kidnapped three Israeli soldiers in the Shebaa Farms in a guerrilla attack on October 7.
Hizbollah spearheaded the guerrilla war until Israel's troop pullout from southern Lebanon in May after 22 years of occupation.
On Sunday, Hizbollah deputy secretary-general Sheikh Naim Qassem warned Israel against "continued aggression by air, land or sea" in Lebanon, saying that it would "cost it dear."
"Israel knows very well that Lebanon is no longer available for it to come and go as it pleases," he said.
He was referring to repeated Israeli supersonic booms over Beirut and other Lebanese regions as well as the interception of a Lebanese ship by the Israeli navy since the kidnapping of the three soldiers.
According to the United Nations, Israel violated Lebanese airspace 123 times in the month since October 7.
Lebanese authorities have yet to comment on Thursday's attack but newspapers which splashed it on their front pages said it marked the start of a new "liberation war" to recover the Shebaa Farms.
An Nahar daily viewed it as a response to the repeated calls by the UN for Lebanon to deploy its security forces up to the border with Israel to prevent such incidents as well as anti-Israeli demonstrations on the frontier.
Lebanon, which is still officially at war with Israel, refuses to do so until the Shebaa Farms issue is resolved and Lebanese released from Israeli jails -- BEIRUT (AFP)
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