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UN mission protests Israel over increased violation of Lebanese air space


09:02, May 08, 2013

UNITED NATIONS, May 7 (Xinhua) -- The UN peacekeeping mission in Lebanon has lodged "firm protests" to Israel about its increased violation of Lebanese air space, UN spokesman Martin Nesirky told reporters here Tuesday.

"The UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) says that, in the course of the past week, it has observed a higher number of Israeli air violations over Lebanese airspace," Nesirky said at a daily news briefing here.

"The UN Interim Force has lodged firm protests with the Israeli Defence Force on this matter, asking them to cease the overflights, " the spokesman said.

"Israeli overflights are in violation of Lebanese sovereignty and of Security Council resolution 1701," he said. "The UN mission is aware of the concerns raised by the Lebanese government in this regard."

The Israeli overflights came as Israeli warplanes carried out air strikes on Syria on Friday and Sunday to destroy what Israel said missiles apparently destined for Hezbollah, reports said. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Sunday voiced his "grave concern" at reported Israeli air raids in Syria.

Lebanon has accused Israel of violating its air space by sending a letter to the Security Council earlier this week to ask the UN body to "compel Israel to halt its violation of Lebanon's sovereignty by air, sea and land and carry out all its obligations in accordance with Resolution 1701."

The UN Security Council resolution 1701, adopted by the 15- nation council in August 2006, halted the war between Israelis and the Lebanese Shiite Hezbollah in southern Lebanon.

The resolution, issued following the devastating July 2006 conflict, called for a "cessation of all war activities" between Hezbollah and Israel and the deployment of the Lebanese army along what is known as the "Blue Line," a virtual line the UN drew in 2000 after the Israeli withdrawal from some southern Lebanese towns.

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