BEIRUT, (AP) – The U.N. peacekeeping force in Lebanon said Wednesday ammunition which had exploded in a southern village was a “serious violation” of the U.N.-brokered ceasefire that ended a month long war between Hezbollah militants and Israeli forces three years ago.
Lebanese security officials said a series of explosions Tuesday in an abandoned building near Lebanon’s tense border with Israel was caused by a fire in a Hezbollah weapons depot. Hezbollah has not commented.
The blasts caused no casualties but highlighted the long-held suspicion that the Shiite militant group has maintained a military presence in the region near Israel’s border despite the deployment of Lebanese troops and U.N. peacekeepers there under a resolution that bans such unauthorized guerrilla activity.
A statement by the U.N. Interim Force in Lebanon said Wednesday that the force commander had updated Lebanese officials on the discovery of the ammunition after the explosions.
Based on the information currently available, UNIFIL considers the incident a “serious violation” of the U.N. resolution that ended the conflict, which specifies that there should be no presence of unauthorized assets or weapons in the area of operations.
Israel and the Iranian-backed Hezbollah fought a fierce but inconclusive war in July and August 2006. The U.N.-brokered truce has held, although both Lebanon and Israel accused each other of violations.
Meanwhile, a military prosecutor in Beirut on Wednesday formally charged and demanded life in prison for a Lebanese car dealer who allegedly passed information about Hezbollah to Israel.
Lebanese authorities have made dozens of arrests in recent months and filed preliminary charges but this has been the first formal indictment since a crackdown began earlier this year against those accused of collaborating with Israel.
The suspect, a car dealer from the southern market town of Nabatiyeh, was accused of providing information about Hezbollah and Lebanese army members and positions, as well as entering Israel and meeting with intelligence officials, said Prosecutor Rashid Mizher.
Israel in the past declined to comment on the case. Israel and Hezbollah have accused each other of spying.