Lebanon, Israel troops clash on border Odaisseh
In this photo taken Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2008, Lebanese journalist Assaf Abu Rahal poses near a cross made from shrapnel leftovers in the Mount Hermon
Lebanese soldiers from the military police unit, carry the coffin of Sgt. Abdullah Tufaili  in Adaisseh village – From clash btw Israeli And Lebanese Army tropp in border  Adaisseh Village and Haifa

Lebanese soldiers from the military police unit, set the coffin of sergeant Robert Ashi who was killed on Tuesday during a clash between Lebanese army
Odaisseh – Adaisseh Adaiseh – Adaisse – Odaisse
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Lebanese soldiers from the military police unit, carry the coffin of Sgt. Abdullah Tufaili who was killed on Tuesday during a clash between
Lebanese soldiers from the military police unit, set the coffin of sergeant Robert Ashi who was killed on Tuesday during a clash between Lebanese army
Soad, the wife of Lebanese Journalist Assaf Abu Rahal, who was killed during a fire exchange between Lebanese and Israeli troops on Tuesday,
Lebanese soldiers from the military police unit, carry the coffin of Sgt. Abdullah Tufaili who was killed on Tuesday during a clash between the Lebane
Lebanese army soldiers from the military police unit carry the coffin of Sgt. Robert Ashi, who was killed Tuesday during
Mother of Lebanese Sergeant al-Ashi, killed during clashes between Israeli forces and Lebanese army
Colleagues and relatives of Lebanese Sergeant Abdullah Tufayli, who was killed during yesterday’s clashes between Israeli forces and the Lebanese

Terez, the wife of Sgt. Robert Ashi who was killed Tuesday during a clash between Lebanese and Israeli troops, mourns next to the ambulance
Priests pray over coffin of Abu Rahhal, correspondent for al-Akhbar newspaper who was killed during clashes between Israeli forces and the
From left, Soad, Georges and Mazen, the wife and two sons of Journalist Assaf Abu Rahal, who was killed during a fire exchange between Lebanese and Is
Israelis visit an observation point at Kibbutz Misgav Am along the border between Israel and Lebanon, Wednesday, Aug. 4, 2010. A clash between

Lebanese troops, Israeli soldier killed in border clash


Lebanese troops, Israeli soldier killed in border clash
Lebanese troops, Israeli


Lebanon-Israel border flares up; four dead


US urges Lebanon, Israel to exercise ‘maximum restraint’
Lebanese soldiers clear debris at a damaged checkpoint after an exchange of fire between Israeli and Lebanese troops along the border
An Israeli soldier is seen on a crane along a border fence with Lebanon near Adaisseh village
A Lebanese soldier opens the road in front of Spanish U.N. peacekeepers, after angry Lebanese villagers tried to block the road for them when they pat
Angry Lebanese villagers try to block the road in front of Spanish U.N. peacekeepers as they patrol in the southern border village of Kfar Kila, Leban
Journalists and Israeli soldiers stand at an Israeli army position after an exchange of fire between Israeli and Lebanese troops along the border betw
Lebanese soldiers stand at a checkpoint near a damaged building after an exchange of fire between Israeli and Lebanese troops along the border between
A Lebanese soldier stands guard near a damaged building after an exchange of fire between Israeli and Lebanese troops along the
Lebanese soliders and Israeli officer killed in clashes
A Lebanese soldier picks a part of a weapon mounted on an armored vehicle after it was hit in an exchange of fire between Israeli and Lebanese troops
Civil defense workers and Lebanese soldiers carry an injured soldier in the southern border village of Adaisseh, Lebanon, Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2010. Leban
An Israeli tank manoeuvres near the border with Lebanon
** EDS NOTE: GRAPHIC CONTENT ** A Lebanese soldier lies injured on the ground in the southern border village of Adaisseh, Lebanon, Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2
Civil defense workers carry the body of journalist Assaf Abu Rahal after he was killed in the exchange of fire between Israeli and Lebanese troops in
EDITORS NOTE GRAPHIC CONTENT–A man try to pull the body of a dead Lebanese soldier closer to civil defense workers after he was killed in the exchan
Civilians help a wounded Lebanese soldier at Adaisseh village, southern Lebanon
Lebanese troops, Israeli soldier killed in border clash
Israeli soldiers and medics carry an Israeli soldier, injured during an exchange of fire with Lebanese troops, out of an ambulance to a helipad to be
Israeli soldiers stand next to military vehicles near the site of an exchange of fire between Israeli and Lebanese troops along the border between Isr

ADAYSSEH, Lebanon (AFP) – Lebanese and Israeli troops traded fire Tuesday along their tense border in the fiercest clashes since a 2006 war, with two Lebanese soldiers, a journalist and a senior Israeli officer killed.

Each side blamed the other for causing the fight, with the Lebanese army acknowledging that it fired first.

A statement by the Lebanese army said troops opened fire on the Israelis after "a patrol crossed the technical (border) fence."

"The patrol did not stop despite UNIFIL (United Nations Interim Forces in Lebanon) attempts to stop it, and the Lebanese army confronted the troops with gunfire and RPGs," the statement said.

An army spokesman said the Israelis were attempting to uproot a tree on the Lebanese side.

Earlier reports had said three Lebanese soldiers had died but the army later put the death toll at two.

Six hours after the clashes began at around noon (0900 GMT) near the village of Adaysseh, the area was reported to be quiet.


Lebanese President Michel Sleiman met top defence officials and decided to file a complaint with the UN Security council, whose members were to meet later in the day for private consultations on the incident.

Meanwhile, General Said Eid, chief of the country’s top defence council, said Lebanon stands ready to face Israeli aggression "by all available means."

"After consultations, the council has … given instructions to face all aggression on our territory, army and people by all available means and no matter the sacrifices," he said.

And Prime Minister Saad Hariri called various leaders, including French President Nicolas Sarkozy, to denounce the Israeli "aggression."

The "violation of Lebanese sovereignty and demands … the United Nations and the international community bear their responsibilities and pressure Israel to stop its aggression," a statement from Hariri’s office said.

The Israeli foreign ministry responded with equal force.

"Israel sees the government of Lebanon as responsible for this grave incident and warns of the consequences in the event that disturbances of this kind continue," it said.

Israel’s military blamed Lebanon for the fighting.

"Full responsibility for the incident and its consequences lies with the Lebanese army, which disrupted the calm in the area," it said in a statement.

"During the afternoon, the Lebanese army opened fire towards an IDF (Israeli Defence Forces) position along the Lebanese border in northern Israel. The force was in Israeli territory, carrying out routine maintenance and was pre-coordinated with UNIFIL," it said, referring to the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon.

UNIFIL did not immediately respond to the Israeli claim.

The army named the dead Israeli officer as Lieutenant Colonel Dov Harari, 45, a battalion commander. It also said a captain had been critically wounded.

Tuesday’s clashes marked the deadliest incident along the border since the devastating war between the Shiite militant group Hezbollah and Israel.

Hezbollah took no part in Tuesday’s fighting, which erupted in its stronghold.

The group’s chief, Hassan Nasrallah, was expected to address the incident in an already scheduled speech on Tuesday night.

The UN force urged "maximum restraint" following the clashes along the so-called Blue Line, a UN-drawn border.

"Our immediate priority at this time is to restore calm in the area," spokesman Neeraj Singh told AFP.

He said acting force commander Brigadier General Santi Bonfanti had flown to the site of the clashes and had personally called on both parties to "stop firing in all the area".

"UNIFIL’s immediate priority is to consolidate the calm and we are urging both parties to exercise maximum restraint," Singh added.

Syria condemned what it said was Israel’s "heinous aggression."

"President Bashar al-Assad … telephoned Lebanese President Michel Sleiman and expressed Syria’s support for Lebanon against the heinous aggression launched by Israel on Lebanon," state news agency SANA reported.

"President Assad considers that this aggression proves once more that Israel has always been seeking to destabilise security and stability in Lebanon and the region," SANA said.

Adaysseh is located about 30 kilometres (19 miles) east of the coastal city of Tyre.

Large swathes of southern Lebanon were destroyed in the 2006 war, which killed 1,200 Lebanese, most of them civilians, and 160 Israelis, mostly soldiers.

Tension in the region has been mounting in recent months following reports Hezbollah was stockpiling weapons in preparation for a new war.




ADAISSEH, Lebanon (Reuters) – Israeli and Lebanese troops clashed on the two countries’ border on Tuesday, raising concerns that a new round of fighting might erupt.

A senior Israeli officer, two Lebanese soldiers and a Lebanese journalist were killed in the exchange of fire, the most serious violence along the frontier since a 2006 war.

The United Nations and the United States urged both sides to show restraint.

Hezbollah fighters, who battled Israel four years ago, took no part in the exchange of fire. But Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said the group would not stand silent if Israel attacked the Lebanese army in the future.

Lebanon and Israel gave different accounts of the events leading up to the clash and the U.N. peacekeeping force in southern Lebanon said it had yet to ascertain the circumstances leading to the bloodshed.

The Lebanese army said an Israeli patrol had crossed the technical line of the border although U.N. peacekeepers had told it to stop.

"A Lebanese army force then repelled it using rocket propelled grenades. A clash happened in which the enemy forces used machine guns and tank fire targeting army posts and civilian houses," it said.

Major-General Gadi Eisenkot, head of Israel’s northern command, said Lebanese snipers fired at officers inside Israeli territory. The Israeli army showed reporters blood stains outside a bunker some 100 meters inside its side of the border fence where it said the colonel was shot in the head and another officer was shot in the chest and seriously wounded.

"There were only two or three shots," said an Israeli military spokeswoman. "They were standing there, where the blood is." They were watching other troops move a cherry-picker crane next to their warning fence behind the demarcation line to trim a tree, whose branches were tripping the fence’s electronic anti-infiltration devices, the spokeswoman said.

An Israeli tank was targeted by rocket-propelled grenade, he said, and the tank fired back and killed the RPG squad.

"Israel has responded and shall respond aggressively in the future to any attempt to disrupt the calm along the northern border or to harm residents of the north or the soldiers protecting them," Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement.

Security sources and witnesses said no more fighting took place but tension remained high. There was no sign of any extensive Israeli preparations for a large-scale operation.

Nasrallah said he did not think Tuesday’s clash would lead to a bigger conflict. "I don’t expect a war to happen soon … but there are reasons for worry," he said.


The United States, Israel’s main backer, called for both sides to exercise restraint.

"The last thing that we want to see is that this incident expand into something more significant," State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said in Washington.

The U.N. Security Council also voiced concern.

"The members of the Security Council called on all parties to practice utmost restraint, strictly abide by their obligations under resolution 1701, observe the cessation of hostilities and prevent any further escalation on the Blue Line," Russian U.N. Ambassador Vitaly Churkin told reporters after a council meeting.

Security Council resolution 1701 halted hostilities in the Israeli-Hezbollah war in 2006 and banned all unauthorized weapons between the Litani River and the Blue Line, the U.N.-monitored border between Israel and Lebanon.

A new war could be more devastating than the last. Tension has increased since April, when Israel accused Syria of transferring long-range Scud missiles to Hezbollah in southern Lebanon — an allegation Syria has rejected.

Israel has threatened to attack Lebanese infrastructure in any new conflict. In 2006 it bombed bridges, fuel tanks, radar stations and Beirut airport, while Hezbollah fired 4,000 rockets into Israel.

Lebanon’s Higher Council for Defense headed by President Michel Suleiman said it held Israel accountable for Tuesday’s clash and it would complain to the U.N. Security Council.

It was the first time there were fatalities on either side since the 2006 war in which 1,200 people, mostly civilians, were killed in Lebanon, along with 158 Israelis, mostly soldiers.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry also said it would file a complaint at the United Nations over the clash, accusing Beirut of violating the U.N. resolution that halted the last war.

Hezbollah’s Nasrallah, addressing tens of thousands of supporters via video link, said: "I say honestly, that in any place where the Lebanese army will be assaulted and there’s a presence for the resistance, and it is capable, the resistance will not stand silent, or quiet or restrained."

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad telephoned Suleiman to offer support and Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri spoke to a number of leaders, including French President Nicolas Sarkozy and asked for France’s assistance in ending what he called "Israeli aggressive practices against Lebanon and its army."

Israel’s shekel currency fell against the dollar over worries about the incident. But research firm Eurasia Group said that although it would raise diplomatic tensions, it was unlikely to lead to more fighting."

(Reporting by Mariam Karouny and Yara Bayoumy in Beirut; Jeffrey Heller, Allyn Fisherilan in Jerusalem; Editing by Angus MacSwan and Jon Hemming)




Much of the speculation about whether Lebanon might be plunged into renewed strife in the months ahead revolves around the impact of the anticipated indictments by the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) that was established by the United Nations to hold accountable those who murdered former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and 22 other people on February 14, 2005. The international investigation has apparently generated enough evidence for the STL to say that it will hand down its indictments in the coming months. Beyond that, most of what is said about the investigation and the indictments – and their consequences – is speculation.

The immediate concern for Lebanon’s wellbeing stems from the expectation that the STL will indict individuals associated with Hizbullah, whether active officials or “rogue elements.” Hizbullah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah has publicly rejected such indictments, calling them a plot to diminish his movement’s standing and clout. Some of his concerns are reasonable, such as questioning whether the STL investigation into the killings is tainted because of its heavy reliance on analyzing cell phone use patterns, when several Lebanese employees in telephone companies have been arrested as spies for Israel. He also questions the relevance and credibility of some Arab individuals interviewed by the investigators who changed their story.

These concerns could be addressed by the STL investigators, but the bigger question does not concern the technical proficiency of the process, but rather its political dimensions. The fear is that if Hizbullah is linked with the murders it would use political or even military force to stop the process, perhaps by bringing the Lebanese government to a standstill.

Hizbullah is the single most powerful military force in Lebanon, and in May 2008 it did not hesitate to flex its muscles and take over key sites in Beirut when the government took a decision that seemed to be directed against its security-related telecommunications system. Renewed war with Israel is also a concern, possibly related to an Israeli or Israeli-American attack on Iran, and any new war will ravage Lebanon to an inhuman degree.

The visit to Beirut last week by the Syrian president, Bashar Assad, and Saudi King Abdullah partly aimed to calm nerves and signal that these two Arab powerhouses sought a quiet rather than a violent Lebanon in the years ahead. Speculation is rife that a political deal will be made to minimize the impact of the indictments, though in truth we still do not know who will be indicted.

When the STL was established several years ago, many in Lebanon and abroad suspected Syrian-linked parties of carrying out the assassinations, whether these were ordered by the government in Damascus or the work of “rogue elements” in the Syrian security services. The evidence from the indictments will clarify such speculation, but for now one has to assume that all potential suspects – Syria, Hizbullah, Israel, militant Islamists, criminal gangs, or anyone else – should be assumed innocent until proven guilty.

The significant tension that now prevails pits two powerful forces against each other, with unpredictable results, but equally momentous consequences for Lebanon and entire Arab world. On the one hand is the fact of the STL investigation and imminent trials, which aim to identify and hold accountable those who committed many murders. This historic move by the UN Security Council was necessary because the Lebanese government had been unable in the past half-century to stop political assassinations, and because spontaneous, widespread outrage in Lebanon at the Hariri murder triggered a demand for the world to step in and bring to justice the killers.

On the other hand, there is a strong desire to maintain the calm and economic boom that have defined Lebanon since the end of the May 2008 fighting, and to avoid renewed strife that might emanate from the political impact of STL indictments if they accuse Hizbullah or Syrian parties. How to balance these two worthy imperatives – justice and stability – is Lebanon’s great challenge today. A huge dilemma for the country is that most of the levers that will drive this process are in the hands of players outside the country, including Syria, Saudi Arabia, Iran, the United States, Israel and the UN Security Council. Events in Lebanon, as always, mirror wider tensions and deal-making in the region and globally.

If the imminent indictments mark the end of the investigation and the approaching start of the trials, the statements by Nasrallah and the Syrian-Saudi visit last week for their part mark the start of the political negotiations that will set the parameters for the STL’s work. It will be difficult but not impossible to conclude a negotiated understanding that holds the killers accountable and sends a strong deterrent message to anyone contemplating such political murders in the future, while also preserving the calm that now prevails in Lebanon.


Rami G. Khouri is published twice weekly by THE DAILY STAR.