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Israeli and Lebanese forces skirmish in southern Lebanon

February 20, 2014 at 3:34 pm

The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon, (UNIFIL) spokesperson, Neeraj Singh, announced that a brief exchange of gunfire between the Israeli and Lebanese armies occurred yesterday in the Wazzani area of south Lebanon. UNIFIL peacekeeping forces immediately headed to the location to contain the situation and prevent any escalation, he added.

Official Lebanese media outlets quoted Singh as saying, “The firing has since ceased and the situation in the area is quiet. No casualties have been reported.”

UNIFIL Acting Force Commander Brigadier General Santi Bonfanti is in contact with the command of both the Lebanese and Israeli armed forces, urging restraint by both sides, he added.

UNIFIL has opened an investigation into the incident, he added.

The Lebanese newspaper Tayyar Al Mustaqbal reported on Monday, August 1, that a Lebanese Army center in Wazzani was fired at by Israeli soldiers, which led the Lebanese forces to respond by firing at the Israeli forces in return. This happened after an Israeli envoy crossed the Blue Line into Lebanon and walked around 50 meters into Lebanese territories, the paper added.

According to the paper, Israeli soldiers fired randomly toward the Wazzani area, the parks, and the Lebanese army headquarters at the east of the town. The Lebanese army responded with machine gunfire, and the confrontation lasted for around 15 minutes, after which the Israeli army reinforced its presence in the Wazzani heights with armoured vehicles, 100 items, including 3 tanks and armoured personnel carriers.

Meanwhile, the Lebanese Army announced it is in a state of alert and utmost readiness in preparation for any security developments that may arise. UNIFIL has deployed 15 armoured vehicles along the border from Abasseyeh to Wazzani, Tayyar Al Mustaqbal added.