Israeli Airstrikes on Lebanon Escalation of 'Aggression', Aoun Says

Israeli Airstrikes on Lebanon Escalation of 'Aggression', Aoun Says

Israel's overnight airstrikes on south Lebanon were an escalation of "aggression" and a threat to the country's security, President Michel Aoun said Thursday.

"Israel's use of air force to target Lebanese villages is the first of its kind since 2006 and indicates the presence of escalating aggressive intentions that coincide with continuous threats against Lebanon and its sovereignty," Aoun said in a statement on Twitter.

Aoun's comments came after a meeting with the Lebanese Army Command Joseph Aoun following the exchange of fire between Israel and Lebanon Wednesday and overnight Thursday.

The president also said it was necessary to make an official complaint to the United Nations "to deter Israel from continuing its attacks on Lebanon" and that the attack was "a flagrant and dangerous violation of Security Council Resolution 1701."

Caretaker Prime Minister Hassan Diab said Thursday that Lebanon will complain to the UN Security Council against Israel over its airstrikes in southern Lebanon in violation of UN Resolution 1701 that ended the 33-day war between Israel and Hezbollah in 2006.

Diab asked Caretaker Foreign Minister Zeina Akkar to instruct Lebanon’s representative at the United Nations Amal Mdallali to file an “urgent complaint to the Security Council over the Israeli aggression on Lebanon.”

“I call on the United Nations and the Security Council to deter Israel from its repeated violations of Lebanon’s sovereignty because these violations are threatening Resolution 1701 and stability that has endured since 2006,” Diab said in a statement carried by the state-run National News Agency.

Israeli warplanes launched two strikes in south Lebanon Thursday morning, hours after two rockets fired from the area hit near an Israeli town, according to a Lebanese security source. The source said the strikes targeted an open area near the village of Mahmoudiyah near the border shortly after midnight.

There was no immediate word on casualties or damage.

Reuters reported Thursday that Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz told Israel's YNet TV: "This was an attack meant to send a message ... Clearly we could do much more, and we hope we won’t arrive at that."

Gantz added that he believed a Palestinian faction in south Lebanon was responsible for the rocket attacks.

The raids came after two rockets fired from south Lebanon hit an open area near a town in northern Israel Wednesday, sparking Israeli artillery fire on border areas inside Lebanon. There were no casualties in those exchanges.

An Israeli military statement, quoted by Reuters, confirmed that Israeli aircraft carried out airstrikes against areas in Lebanon from which rockets were fired.

"Earlier today, rockets were fired from Lebanon into Israeli territory. In response, IDF fighter jets struck the launch sites and infrastructure used for terror in Lebanon from which the rockets were launched," the Israeli army said in a statement.

The last time Israel launched airstrikes on Lebanese territory was in 2014, when a warplane attacked a Hezbollah base on the border with Syria, near the village of Nabi Sheet in the Baalbeck governorate. Hezbollah retaliated by attacking an Israeli patrol in the Israeli-occupied Shebaa Farms. But it is the first time since the 2006 war that Israel has conducted airstrikes over southern Lebanon.

Source: The Daily Star