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Home >> World
UPDATED: 09:19, August 20, 2006
Israeli officials defend raid on eastern Lebanon
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Israeli government officials defended an airborne raid on a Hezbollah stronghold in eastern Lebanon overnight Friday in response to the Lebanese accusation that the raid was a "naked violation" of a UN truce resolution.

The operation was necessary because Hezbollah violated the ceasefire agreement by smuggling arms from Syria and Iran, an official from the prime minister's office was quoted by the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth as reporting.

Meanwhile, a senior Israeli government official told Israel Radio that the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) and the Lebanese army were not showing any intention to end the rearmament of Hezbollah, since the former was unwilling to confront the "terrorist organization".

Thus, Israel had no choice but to act itself to stop the flow of weapons and missiles to the Shiite group, the official added.

On early Saturday, Israeli commandos carried out a raid on a Hezbollah stronghold near the Bodai village in eastern Lebanon during which one soldier was killed and two others were wounded, an Israeli army spokesman confirmed.

The operation was aimed at preventing Hezbollah from smuggling weapons from Syria and Iran, the spokesman said, adding that the goal was achieved.

Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora said on Saturday that the raid was a "naked violation" of a UN Security Council truce between Israel and Hezbollah.

He said that he had complained to a UN delegation, and would take up the matter with UN chief Kofi Annan.

The raid is the first Israeli raid deep inside Lebanon since a ceasefire between Israel and Hezbollah came into effect on Monday under a UN Security Council resolution.

The truce ended the 34-day-long Israel-Hezbollah conflict which was triggered by the capture of two Israeli soldiers by Hezbollah during cross-border raids on July 12.

Source: Xinhua

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