Violence Reported in South Lebanon amid Talks over the Situation in Damascus, Jerusalem

Published May 28th, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

A Lebanese civilian was wounded by Israeli gunfire Sunday at a section of the Israeli-Lebanese border in the Kfar Kila border town that has become a flashpoint after the Israeli pullout from Lebanon, an AFP reporter saw. 

The soldiers opened fire after an incident involving stone-throwing by a crowd of Lebanese demonstrators, he said. 

The casualty had been on the Israeli side of the border when the incident occurred. 

Earlier, about 20 Lebanese civilians, cheered by a large crowd, had crossed over into Israel and started walking around to taunt frontier troops after they had forced open a border gate. 

The border at Kfar Kila has become an area of growing tension following the Israel's withdrawal on Wednesday. 

In another violent incident, this time among the Lebanese themselves, a Christian from the village of Rmeish in southern Lebanon was killed and another wounded Sunday, by a gunman of the Hizbollah movement who was later arrested, police said 

"Following a dispute, Shadi Ataya fired at Gergi Hajj, 50, who later died from his wounds," said a statement by the Internal Security Forces. 

Another Christian, Georges Assaf, was "slightly wounded" during the shooting, said the statement, adding that the police "arrested the gunman, confiscated his weapon and began interrogating him." 

According to police sources, Ataya was a Hizbollah militant who had been detained for two and a half years at the Khiam jail in the former Israeli-occupied border zone in southern Lebanon. 

The situation in Lebanon will top the agenda of meetings’ agendas between Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Khrazi and Syrian president Hafez Assad and senior officials. 

Kharazi arrived in Damascus Sunday for talks with Syrian leaders on the situation in Lebanon in the wake of Israel's pullout from the south of the country, an AFP correspondent saw.  

He was met by his Syrian counterpart, Faruq al-Shara, at the start of his visit which will last only a few hours. 

He was also expected to meet President Hafez Assad during his trip. 

"For Syria, as for Iran, the Israeli retreat from Lebanon is a joyous occasion," Syria's ambassador to Iran Hassan al-Ahmed said earlier Sunday. "We want to consult and coordinate policy with our Iranian friends on questions of mutual interest, in particular the Middle East." 

Kharazi was to have visited Damascus Friday after a two-day visit to Lebanon, where he went immediately after Israel's withdrawal. 

But the talks were rescheduled because Shara was attending a meeting in Portugal. 

The situation in Lebanon in the aftermath of the Israeli withdrawal was also the aim of a visit to Israel by UN special envoy Terje Roed-Larsen who arrived in Jerusalem Sunday in for talks with Israeli leaders following Israel's pullout from southern Lebanon, the foreign ministry said. 

He was meeting Foreign Minister David Levy and was to meet later with Prime Minister Ehud Barak, it said. 

Roed-Larsen was expected to return to Beirut later in the day. 

He arrived in Lebanon Wednesday for a Middle East tour, which will also include Syria, to discuss the UN Security Council's position on southern Lebanon. 

The Security Council approved a resolution in March 1978 that called for Israel's departure from Lebanon and set up an interim force to monitor the withdrawal and help the Beirut government restore its authority in the area – (AFP) 

 

 

© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)

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