The UN representative to south Lebanon offered a harsh condemnation Sunday to Hizbollah, following the group's attack upon the Israeli army in a disputed territory on the Israeli and Lebanese border, reported AFP.
Staffan de Mistura, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan's envoy to south Lebanon, described the missile attack on an Israeli tank, leaving one soldier dead, as a violation of UN Security Council resolution 425 which specifies the terms of the Jewish state's withdrawal from Lebanese territory.
In the wake of the attack, Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres called on the United States, France and United Nation's secretary-general Kofi Anan to order the Lebanese government to stop Hizbollah's attacks.
After Hizbollah fired a rocket at an Israeli tank near the disputed Shabaa Farms, killing Elad Litvak, 21, the Israeli army blasted Hizbollah positions with artillery, helicopter gunships and warplanes, reported Haaretz newspaper.
Two Israeli fighter-bombers fired two missiles twice at a 20-minute interval on the Seddana hill near Shabaa village.
In a statement, Hizbollah said that its military wing "Al-Aqsa Brigades" blew up the Israeli tank at 2:20 p.m. (1130 GMT) in the "enemy-occupied" Shabaa Farms.
Al-Manar TV Channel displayed footage of the operation.
Israeli Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer said Israel held Lebanon and Syria responsible for the attack, while President Moshe Katzav said that Hizbollah was making a mistake if it "interprets our moderation as weakness," Haaretz quoted him as saying.
The radio also quoted military sources saying that Hizbollah was operating both on the northern border and in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
They added that movement was trying to draw Israel into a broader conflict.
The movement kidnapped three Israeli soldiers in the same area last October.
The operation is the first military attack since February.
NEWSPAPER OF LEBANESE PM CRITICIZES TIMING OF HEZBOLLAH ATTACK
The newspaper of Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri on Sunday strongly criticized the timing of Hizbollah's attack on the Israeli army, saying it could damage the country's interests, reported AFP.
"The government must not remain inactive faced with actions that could hurt the interests of Lebanese," said the al-Mostaqbal daily.
"Does the situation in Lebanon allow such an operation now without fear of the negative consequences on the political, economic and social levels?" the newspaper asked.
"The Farms of Shabaa: a Poorly Timed Operation," ran al-Mostaqbal's headline.
"No group has the right to decide for the Lebanese actions that risk damaging the national consensus," it said, demanding "clear and urgent responses" from Hizbollah for why it launched the attack now.
The mountainous Shabaa Farms region, which lies at the intersection of Israel, Lebanon and Syria, has been held by the Jewish state since 1967 but is claimed by Beirut - Albawaba.com
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