Lebanon Border Flare-Up Ahead Of Gaza Truce

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By Najia Houssari

Hostilities on Lebanon’s southern border flared on Wednesday after Hezbollah militants launched Burkan missiles at Israeli army positions just hours before a truce was declared in the Gaza Strip between Israel and Hamas.

Israeli army forces also struck Hezbollah targets in Lebanon, while Israeli warplanes dropped phosphorous bombs, causing fires between the towns of Kafr Kila and Al-Adisa.

Hezbollah said that it attacked the Yiftah barracks, and also targeted a logistical support team carrying out maintenance work at the Bayad Blida site.

The militant group fired Burkan missiles at Israeli troops and vehicles at the Raheb site and Zarit barracks, while the Mitat barracks, near the town of Rmeish, were also hit.

Caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati visited Rashaya Castle in western Bekaa to mark the 80th anniversary of Lebanon’s independence. The castle housed independence heroes imprisoned during the French mandate.

In a speech, Mikati called for the army’s role and integrity to be safeguarded.

“We are a people who want peace and love the culture of peace, but we do not and will not accept the violation of our sovereignty and the assault on our rights. Otherwise, what is the meaning of independence?” he said.

Mikati called on “the international community to deter Israel from its aggression, and blatant violation of international conventions and resolutions and human rights and from its continuation of committing massacres and genocides.”

After arriving in Beirut on Wednesday for talks with Lebanese leaders, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, the Iranian foreign minister, said that the fate of Gaza and Palestine “lies in the hands of the Palestinian people.”

Abdollahian’s visit coincided with talks in Beirut involving Hamas’s Arab and Islamic relations official Khalil Al-Hayya, who met with the Secretary-General of Hezbollah, Hassan Nasrallah.

Lebanese flags were raised in Beirut and some regions to commemorate the independence anniversary. Large banners were also displayed on buildings in the capital, bearing the message: “Lebanon seeks to avoid war to prevent the recurrence of past events.” This initiative is part of a civil society campaign that opposes Lebanon’s involvement in the Gaza conflict.

The Lebanese army and security services did not hold their customary military parade due to the absence of a president.

Meanwhile, the people of Lebanon mourned the deaths of journalist Farah Omar and photojournalist Rabea Maamari, who were killed by an Israeli army drone strike near the Lebanese border on Tuesday.

The EU mission and the embassies of member states represented in Lebanon said in a statement that “Lebanon’s independence anniversary falls this year in difficult regional circumstances.”

The statement issued a renewed call to “all relevant parties to exercise the utmost restraint to avoid further escalation.”

Herve Magro, France’s ambassador to Lebanon, marked the independence anniversary by looking forward to “a unified, open and sovereign country in the face of the challenges it faces.”

Arab News

Arab News is Saudi Arabia's first English-language newspaper. It was founded in 1975 by Hisham and Mohammed Ali Hafiz. Today, it is one of 29 publications produced by Saudi Research & Publishing Company (SRPC), a subsidiary of Saudi Research & Marketing Group (SRMG).

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