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Israeli, Lebanese, UN officers to discuss cross-border killing - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Israeli soldiers control the access of one of the roads near Rosh Hanikra on the Israeli-Lebanese border on December 16, 2013 (AFP PHOTO / JACK GUEZ)

Israeli soldiers control the access of one of the roads near Rosh Hanikra on the Israeli-Lebanese border on December 16, 2013 (AFP PHOTO / JACK GUEZ)

Beirut/Jerusalem, Reuters—Israeli, Lebanese and UN military officers will meet on Monday to defuse tension after a “rogue” Lebanese soldier shot dead an Israeli soldier the day before, Israel’s defense minister said.

The Lebanese soldier went missing after the cross-border shooting, but has now been found, a Lebanese security source said.

Sunday’s incident jarred the relatively stable standoff between the two neighbors, which last saw major hostilities in the 2006 war between Israel and Lebanese Hezbollah guerrillas.

Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon said in statement that Israel regards “the Lebanese government and the Lebanese army as responsible for what happens on their side”.

He said Israeli and Lebanese liaison officers, along with peacekeepers of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), would meet to clarify the incident. UNIFIL said it was urging restraint.

“We will demand of the Lebanese army first of all an explanation as to what happened and whether this was indeed a rogue soldier; what they have done with him, and what the Lebanese army plans to do in order to prevent incidents of this kind,” Yaalon said.

Israel said its soldier was driving near the border fence at its westernmost point of Rosh Hanikra when he was shot by a Lebanese army sniper. Israeli troops who searched the frontier area later shot at two Lebanese soldiers who “made suspicious movements”, hitting one of them, an army spokeswoman said.

The Lebanese security source said the Israelis fired into Lebanon during the night, but had caused no casualties.

“The [Lebanese] soldier was found this morning by the Lebanese army in the area where the shooting took place,” the source said, without giving further details. Contact with the soldier had been lost after the incident.

Israel has lodged a complaint with UNIFIL, which has been stationed in southern Lebanon since 1978, and said it had heightened its state of preparedness along the border.

“We will not tolerate violations of our sovereignty along any border, and certainly not the Lebanese border,” Yaalon said.

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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