Israel has increased its use of aircraft in military
operations in southern Lebanon.
The United Nations has determined that Israel has used a range of
fixed-wing aircraft and unmanned air vehicles in Lebanon. UN officials said
this has violated an agreement in 2000 for Israel to respect Lebanese
sovereignty amid its withdrawal from southern Lebanon.
Staffan di Mistura, the representative of UN secretary-general Kofi
Annan for southern Lebanon, said that on Sunday UN forces detected five
Israeli air violations of Lebanese air space. Di Mistura said the violations
comprised flights by two Israeli aircraft and four UAVs.
The UN envoy again expressed his concern over continued Israeli
overflights and called on Israel to refrain from violations. He said Israel
was violating Security Council 425, which called for Israeli withdrawal from
Di Mistura did not identify the Israeli aircraft. But UN sources said
Israel Air Force has been using the F-16 multi-role fighter and Searcher UAV
in operations in southern Lebanon.
Israeli officials said the air operations in southern Lebanon mark a
response to Hizbullah threats to northern Israel. They said Hizbullah has
increased efforts to plant bombs along roads in northern Israel as well as
Israeli Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Moshe Ya'alon has warned Syria to
restrain Hizbullah. Ya'alon told an audience at Haifa University on
Tuesday that Israel could order additional air attacks against targets in
Syria in retaliation for Hizbullah attacks. On Oct. 5, Israel struck a
training base of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General
Command near Damascus.