Tuesday, August 03, 2010

3-Aug-10: Minutes before the shooting broke out today

The upper of the two images on the right (from AP) is captioned: "A Lebanese soldier holds his rifle as Israeli troops patrol the border fence in the southern border village of Adaisseh, Lebanon, Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2010. Lebanon and Israeli troops exchanged fire on the border Tuesday in the most serious clashes since a fierce war four years ago."

The Israelis are the soldiers in the background, on their own side of the fence, working with a mechanical mobile crane to install something (according to some reports, a camera.) The distance between the two forces could hardly be closer.

By the way, how odd do you think it that newsagency photographers AND offiers from UNIFILwere present as the Lebanese took position, aimed, and eventually fired?

The lower image, more or less a counterpart to the first, shows the broader picture. It's captioned: "An Israeli soldier is seen on a crane on the Lebanese side of the Lebanese-Israeli border near Adaisseh village, southern Lebanon August 3, 2010. Israeli artillery shelled the Lebanese village on Tuesday, wounding two people, after Lebanese Army troops fired warning shots at Israeli soldiers along the usually quiet but tense frontier, witnesses said."

Meanwhile the day is wearing on and so is the shooting and rising tension. A few minutes ago (Tuesday 4:00pm Israel time), the IDF spokesperson's office issued a statement laying out its view of what has been going on up north. Around the middle of the day, the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) fired on an IDF position along the Lebanese border in northern Israel, says the IDF spokesperson. The force was inside Israeli territory, carrying out routine maintenance that had been co-ordinated with the United Nations force in the area, UNIFIL. The location of the clash is east of Metula, an Israeli town. The incident occurred west of the internationally recognized "Blue Line" (the border between Israel and Lebanon) and east of the security fence. In other words, the attack was made on Israeli soldiers operating inside Israeli territory.

The statement says IDF forces returned fire with light arms right away, aiming at the LAF forces. The IDF also used artillery fire, and shortly after that, an Israel Air Force (IAF) helicopter fired at the LAF Battalion Command Center in Al-Taybeh, damaging several LAF armored combat vehicles. It closes with the traditional life-must-go-on formulation: "The Israeli public in the Galilee region to carry on with their routine way of life."

Routine, this surely is not.

There is considerable tension here, given what Israeli intelligence has been saying for months: the Lebanese and the Hizbullah forces are equipped with tens of thousands of missiles and rockets, targeting our cities, towns and homes. We blogged about this two weeks ago - read "20-Jul-10: Protecting the lives of ordinary people... who happen to be Arabs", and please view the video there.

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