Israeli warplanes fly over Beirut

Published Monday, December 12, 2011

Israeli fighter jets penetrated deep into Lebanese airspace on Monday morning, startling residents as the jets flew over the capital Beirut, witnesses said.

Four Israeli jets were seen flying over the southern Lebanese towns of Bint Jbeil at 9.40am, and Jezzine and Iklim el Toufah at roughly 10am, Lebanon's official news agency, NNA, reported.

Witnesses also saw the warplanes hover above Beirut.

"Unbelievable. I just arrived to the airport (Rafiq Hariri International Airport) to catch a flight and Israeli jets are above, now heading back south," freelance journalist Matthew Cassel tweeted.

"What other country in the world could fly its fighter jets over another country's airport like this?!?," he added.

Another witness saw the Israeli jets from her university campus in Beirut.

"I was leaving the Lebanese University, and saw people looking up at the skies. I looked up and saw white cloud traces from the jets, and then they appeared, flying about," witness Nadine Kanaan said.

Israel frequently violates Lebanese airspace in defiance of UN Resolution 1701, which ended the Israel-Lebanon 2006 war.

UNIFIL spokesperson Andrea Tenenti told Al-Akhbar that the UN contingent in Lebanon is constantly urging the UN Security Council to stop Israel's provocative violations of Lebanon's airspace.

"We have been protesting on a daily basis with the Security Council the daily air violations of the IDF (Israeli army)," Tenenti said.

Israeli fighter jets also flew over south Lebanon for roughly an hour last night near Kfarkila, according to the NNA.

Rocket lands short

A rocket fired from Lebanon and aimed at Israel landed short of the border in the south Lebanese town of Houla, wounding a woman, the Lebanese army confirmed in a statement.

The rocket hit the home of Nasira Ali Abbas, 55, who was then transferred to Mais al-Jabal hospital, the NNA reported.

It is the second time in two weeks rockets have been fired from south Lebanon by suspected rogue militants.

Rockets landed in Israel a fortnight ago, prompting Israeli shelling across the border.

Although the Israel-Lebanon border has seen relative calm since the end of the 2006 war, continued military posturing coupled by sporadic attacks is undermining stability in the region.

A roadside bomb last week injured five French UNIFIL troops near Tyre, which was roundly condemned by Lebanese officials and Hezbollah.

France said Syria was "probably" behind the blast, without disclosing any evidence to back up its claim.

Syria has in turn denied any involvement with the bombing.

(Al-Akhbar, NNA)

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