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UNIFIL confronts Israeli troops

  |   Sept. 28, 2006 at 10:56 AM
BEIRUT, Lebanon, Sept. 28 (UPI) -- U.N. peacekeeping forces in south Lebanon intervened for the first time Thursday with Israeli forces who arrested journalists in violation of Resolution 1701.

Israel has not completed its total withdrawal behind the Blue Line dividing the two countries, and Lebanon complains the Israeli forces continuously commit violations since the offensive with the Shiite Hezbollah organization ended in line with Security Council Resolution 1701.

Members of UNIFIL's French battalion almost clashed with Israeli troops who arrested a French journalist and a Lebanese photographer at an improvised checkpoint in the border area of Marwaheen in the western sector of south Lebanon.

A UNIFIL officer told United Press International that a French force was rushed to the location of the checkpoint and a heated argument erupted between French and Israeli officers, which lasted an hour before the Israeli troops released the two journalists.

It was the first time that such friction occurs between Israeli troops and UNIFIL forces, international forces which deployed in recent weeks to increase the number of the original peacekeepers in the area.

Israel still occupies several border positions it captured during its 33-day offensive in Lebanon last July and August.

Seen as another violation of 1701, an Israeli gunboat opened fire at a Lebanese fishing boat inside Lebanese territorial waters off Ras Naqoura, in the southernmost tip of the Lebanese coast.

A Lebanese army statement said the Israelis opened gunfire at the fishing boat, but reported no casualties.

Meanwhile, a German team inspected two legitimate crossing points between Syria and Lebanon in the north, Lebanon's National News Agency, reported.

It said the experts visited the crossings of Abboudiyeh and Arida as part of Germany's assistance to help Lebanon tighten control over land crossings to curb smuggling, especially weapons to Hezbollah.

Germany had volunteered modern equipment and monitoring devices to be set up on crossings. It also contributed navy forces to UNIFIL to monitor Lebanese waters.

© 2006 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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