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Home >> World
UPDATED: 08:43, April 30, 2007
Hezbollah returning to south of Litani River: Israeli army chief
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Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Chief of Staff Lt-Gen Gabi Ashkenazi said at Sunday's cabinet meeting that the Lebanese Hezbollah is attempting to re-establish its presence in the south of the Litani River in southern Lebanon. "The organization is attempting to descend on south of the Litani River, to open areas," Ashkenazi was quoted by local Yedioth Ahronoth as telling the ministers.

"UNIFIL (United Nations Interim Forces In Lebanon) and the Lebanese army are operating, but the smuggling of weapons from Syria to Lebanon continues, as there is no effective mechanism controlling the process along the very long border," Ashkenazi added. In addition, Ashkenazi said that Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Seniora has taken only limited action to stop rearmament of Hezbollah through Syria.

"If the Lebanese prime minister were strong enough to control the border, he would do it, but he understands the limits to his power and therefore this does not take place," said the army chief.

The IDF chief dispelled rumors that Syria is planning to attack Israel in the summer and said that according to existing information the Syrian forces are deployed in a defensive formation.

Ashkenazi also talked about the situation in Gaza, saying in the past five months since the Israeli-Palestinian ceasefire took effect in Nov. 26, Israel totally encountered 250 attacks of "high- trajectory" fire, which usually represents both rockets and mortar shells.

"If this situation continues, there will be no choice but to operate," Ashkenazi said.

During the 34-day Israel-Hezbollah war triggered by the kidnapping of two Israeli soldiers by Hezbollah in last summer, Israel launched air, land and sea offensives against Hezbollah in southern Lebanon.

Meanwhile, Hezbollah fired thousands of rockets at northern Israel, killing dozens of Israeli civilians and wounding hundreds.

The fighting ended on Aug. 14 under a UN-brokered resolution after about 120 Israeli soldiers and over 1,200 Lebanese were killed in the conflict.

Source: Xinhua

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