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Arms smuggling from Syria continues: Israeli officer
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07:48, August 15, 2007

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Israeli intelligence officers on Tuesday expressed concerns over the continued smuggling of arms from Syria to Hezbollah gunmen in Lebanon, while its motivation to act is not high these days.

Senior officers of Israeli Northern Command made a briefing to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi during their routine tour of army bases in the area.

The smuggling includes the transfer of weapons similar to those used by Hezbollah during the war in addition to more advanced apparatus, the officer was quoted by local daily Yedioth Ahronoth as saying.

Meanwhile, Hezbollah's ability to act south of the Litani was hindered, and its gunmen are not allowed to carry arms in that region due to the deployment of UNIFIL following the 2006 Lebanon War, the officer added.

The 34-day military conflict in Lebanon and northern Israel ended when a UN-brokered ceasefire went into effect on Aug.14 2006.

As to the situation on the Israel-Syria front line, the Northern Command officers said that the Syrian military deployment near the Golan Heights area is defensive in nature, apparently for fear of a possible Israeli attack, but added that the Israeli troops is preparing for any scenario.

The Olmert's Office stressed in a statement that the visit had nothing to do with any developments along the northern front, this in order to make certain that it would not lead to any misunderstandings with the Syrians or prompt a military confrontation in the region.

Source: Xinhua

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