BEIRUT (AFP) – Lebanese anti-aircraft guns opened fire on two Israeli warplanes that were violating Lebanon’s airspace on Wednesday, a military statement said.
“The anti-aircraft batteries fired in the direction of Israeli warplanes that flew over” the Shebaa region of southern Lebanon at medium altitude, the statement said.
Earlier in the day, two aircraft flew over southern and northern Lebanon before returning to Israeli territory, it said.
While Lebanon’s army publishes almost daily reports of Israeli violations of Lebanese airspace, the military rarely opens fire unless the planes fly within range of its guns.
The overflights are a violation of UN Security Council Resolution 1701, which ended a devastating 2006 war between Israel and Lebanon’s Shiite Hezbollah militia.
Israel argues that the overflights are necessary, despite the resolution, to monitor what it says is massive arms smuggling by Hezbollah, also in breach of the same resolution.
Last month Israeli President Shimon Peres accused Syria of providing Scud missiles to Hezbollah, which Israel alleges has stockpiled more than 40,000 rockets, some capable of reaching large towns in Israel.
Damascus has rejected the allegation but the armed Hezbollah which controls southern Lebanon has neither confirmed nor denied it.