The border tensions brewing for weeks on the Lebanese-Israel border boiled over Tuesday, Aug. 3 into a heavy exchange of cross-border fire.
Lt. Col. Dov Harari, 45, from Netanya, brigade commander of the eastern Lebanese sector was killed in a surprise Lebanese cross-border attack.
He was killed by what Maj. Gen. Gady Eisencott, OC Northern Command, later called one of two, well-planned, unprovoked "sniper ambushes" set by the Lebanese army -
one against a group of Israeli officers standing behind the border fence and the second an RPG attack on an Israeli tank. An Israeli major was seriously injured. Doctors are fighting for his life.
Lebanon reported three soldiers and one civilian killed in Israel's heavy retaliation for the attack.
Israel has complained to the UN.
Maj. Gen. Eisencott described the incident, the most serious since the end of the 2006 war with Hizballah, as follows:
At around noon Tuesday, Israeli forces were cutting down small trees near Kibbutz Misgav Am on our side of the border.
"Their officers were watching the work from a forward command post 200-300 meters behind the border when all of a sudden Lebanese forces suddenly started shooting without any sort of provocation."
Israel decided on all-out retaliation because the attack was so completely unprovoked, he said, referring to the tank, artillery and helicopter fire the IDF launched against Lebanese army positions.
When the Lebanese commanders asked for a ceasefire to evacuate their wounded, "We acceded to their request but then too they shelled one of our tanks. The tank gun fired on the shooters."
The incident flared when Lebanese troops ordered Israeli soldiers to stop clearing trees and installing a surveillance camera on the border fence near Kibbutz Misgav-Am opposite the Lebanese village of Adeisseh.
They accused the Israeli soldiers of encroaching on Lebanese territory.
When the Israelis replied they had kept to their own side of the border and refused to back down, the Lebanese started shooting, using mortars and RPGs.
The possibility that the Lebanese soldiers who opened fire were Hizballah gunmen disguised in military uniform is still under investigation.
All Lebanese units in the south went on full alert when President Michel Suleiman, at two p.m. called on the Lebanese people to be prepared to
lay down their lives to defend their country and UN Security Council Resolution 1701 which terminated the 2006 war with Israel.
In Jerusalem, Prime Minister, Binyamin Netanyahu urgently consulted with security chiefs on Israel's response to the Lebanese attack.
The Israeli complaint to the United Nations holds the Lebanese government responsible for attacking Israeli troops whose work on the Israeli side of the border was coordinated with UN peacekeepers.
According to debkafile's military sources, the clash was staged deliberately by the Lebanese side to divert attention from the radical change in the balance of power in Beirut as a result of President Bashar Assad's abrupt switch of patronage from Hizballah's Hassan Nasrallah to Prime Minister Sa'ad Hariri.
To read debkafile's earlier article on the events leading up to this outbreak, click here.
It coincided with a 'major speech' expected later Tuesday by Hassan Nasrallah, leader of the Iranian-backed Hizballah, and came a day after six missiles were fired towards the Jordanian port of Aqaba and Israeli Red Sea resort of Eilat, killing one Jordanian.
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By launching a cross-border sniper attack on Israeli forces Tuesday, Aug. 3, and provoking a major clash, the 9th Brigade of the Lebanese Army laid down a new fact of life in the Middle East:
The next war against Israel will be fought - not by the Hizballah militia, but by the Lebanese army, whose mission is henceforth merged into the radical objectives of the Iran-backed terrorist group.
By taking on Israeli forces, the Lebanese Army assumed responsibility for the volatile Lebanese-Israeli border and showed it was prepared to take the consequences of aggression.
Never seen as capable of anything more than substandard police work and inclined to run from combat, this army has astonished military observers by its performance against the IDF.
1. Its commanders proved capable of catching the Israeli military unawares, in exactly the same way as Hizballah did when it
kidnapped and murdered three Israeli soldiers in 2000 and, again, when it snatched another two Israeli officers in a cross-border raid in 2006.
In both cases, the terrorists stole across the border into Israel.
Tuesday, the Lebanese army showed itself to be not only an apt pupil of Hizballah's tactics, but capable of going "one better."
Its snipers shot Lt. Col. (Res.) Dov Harari, 45, from Netanya, in cold blood as he stood well inside the Israeli border, and
seriously injured Capt. Ezer Lakiya from Kfar Harif. Doctors are fighting to save his life by removing a piece of shrapnel from his heart.
Both were watching Israeli troops carrying out routine tasks on the Israeli side of the border fence.
2. The Lebanese army was able to hoodwink Israeli military intelligence border scouts and keep its plan of attack dark. The fact that Hizballah was also out of the picture would have been cold comfort for the Israeli high command.
3. Its commanders were not deterred by Israeli retaliation and rather than backing down raised the pitch of violence.
4. Israel commanders judged that, by exacting a painful price, they could silence the enemy's guns. They therefore bombed the Lebanese Army's regional command center at Taybeh, torched an APC and left three soldiers dead. The enemy kept on shooting.
5. The day's combat ended with the Lebanese army's 9th Brigade established as a new threat to the Israel Defense Forces from positions abutting the border.
Its presence in South Lebanon is moreover legitimate, unlike Hizballah, which moved men and weapons into the south although prohibited from doing so by the UN Security Council Resolution 1701 of 2006.
6. The Lebanese army may decide to follow up on its attack, using one flimsy pretext or another. After all, the UN peacekeepers stood by idly when the snipers opened fire into Israel under the world body's flag.
7. The IDF's response was disproportionately mild given the loss of two high commanders in an act of unprovoked aggression. But it was enough to allow Hizballah's Hassan Nasrallah to pose as Lebanon's great national unifier.
In the speech he delivered Tuesday night, he capitalized on the incident by saying he had ordered his militiamen not to interfere in the clash with Israeli forces, commended the Lebanese Army for its bravery in taking on the Zionist foe and let it be understood that his rockets and missiles would be made available for the next round of fighting with Israel.
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UNIFIL forces touring site of Tuesday's deadly border skirmish determined that Lebanese soldiers had no reason to open fire on troops performing routine activity. 'Enemy following our every step,' officer says
UNIFIL forces who toured the site of Tuesday's deadly exchanges of fire on the northern border said the IDF's activity did not warrant the attack launched by Lebanese Army soldiers.
IDF soldiers were performing routine operations in a border-area enclave within Israeli territory when they were ambushed by Lebanese troops.
During the incident, which took place mid-day Tuesday, Lebanese soldiers ambushed an Israeli Engineering Corps force operating on the Israeli side of the border.
The Israeli soldiers were clearing bushes along the border fence. According to the army, such activity has become routine since the conclusion of the Second Lebanon War.
Lebanese army admits its troops opened fire at Israeli forces Tuesday.
IDF officer: Lebanon has much to lose should it maintain belligerent attitude.
Army says it will continue to cut down shrubbery on border in coming days
The Lebanon army's spokesman has confirmed Israel's claims that Lebanese forces fired first during Tuesday's deadly border skirmish.
In a statement issued to AFP and quoted by Lebanese daily al-Nahar Wednesday, the spokesman said that
"the Lebanese Army opened fire first at Israeli soldiers who entered Lebanese territory…this constituted defense of our sovereignty and is an absolute right."
This is the second Lebanese-Israeli Gunfire incident in a week
A Lebanese fishing vessel entered a restricted Israeli maritime zone Saturday, prompting the IDF to fire warning shots.
The Lebanese vessel entered the restricted waters and ignored orders by the navy to turn back to its own territory.
No damage was caused.
Lebanon Complaints of IAF Flyovers Preceded Incident. Since Hellzballah terrorists are dug in and stockpiled for war against Israel, these flyovers are mandatory to Israel's existence.
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This is a VERY SERIOUS situation.
Armies DO NOT maintain HIGH alert status for long periods of time.
August 9, 2010 DEBKA
Tehran threw all its weight behind Hellzballah terrorist leader Hassan 'Nasty' Nasrallah, by declaring that Lebanon, Iraq and Afghanistan are Iran security belt.
Iran gave Syrian president Bashar Assad a piece of his mind over the deal Assad concluded with Saudi king Abdullah to pull away from relations with Hizballah.
Ayatollah Khamenei has taken charge of the Lebanese situation. He is maintaining control through 2 officials in Beirut and Damascus.
Nasty is threatening a civil war in Lebanon and/or an attack on Israel.
All armies on alert.
Lebanese army snipers killed an Israeli officer Aug. 5
Aug. 6th Iranian officers toured the Lebanon-Israel border and studied Israeli positions.
PHOTO LEFT - Road from Israel to Syria
PHOTO RIGHT - A Lebanese soldier with rifle aims at Israeli troops patroling border fence in southern Lebanon
Israeli military exercise
August 10, 2010 DEBKAfile Exclusive
Lunatic LIAR Hellzballah leader Hassan Nasty Nasrallah accused Israel of plotting to murder all of Lebanon's political and military leaders.
Iran supported his lies. No surprise.
His speech poured oil on the Israel-Lebanese, Israel-Syrian borders and all but lit the match.
Israel is to move large tank, armored infantry and artillery up north as an extra warning to Tehran, Damascus and Beirut.
Israel warned citizens they would have to put up with heavy military traffic, that is unusual.
They were advised to avoid northern roads.
Lebanon will reject conditioinal U.S. military aid
O COME ON! MUSLIMS LIE!
Islamic nations say one thing, do another! Turkey promised NOT to use drones against Kurds, but did!
PLEASE NOTE south Lebanon has the HIGH ground advantage over the northern Israel border.
THIS is why Israel went into Lebanon in 1982 when I was in Israel.
Lebanon: We'll reject U.S. military aid if weapons can't be used against Israel
August 12, 2010
Lebanese Defense Minister Elias Murr said he would reject any American military assistance to the Lebanese army if it comes with conditions that the weapons not be used against Israel.
Murr was commenting on the decision by a US congressman to suspend $100 million of military aid to Lebanon over concerns the weapons could be turned on Israel and that Hezballah may have influence over the Lebanese army.
DUH! HELLZballah are part of the army, and in the government!
Those who want to help the Lebanese army but place conditions on how their funds or weapons are used, should keep the money.
Murr also said a Lebanese soldier who opened fire across the border with Israel August 3 was acting on orders. The clash killed two Lebanese soldiers, a Lebanese journalist and an Israel Defense Forces officer.
Lebanese paper claims US envoy told LAF chief that if border incident occurred again IDF would enact plan to destroy Lebanese military within four hours.
The US warned Lebanon that if it did not prevent any recurrence of the border-fire incident that occurred earlier this month,
the IDF would destroy the Lebanese Armed Forces within four hours, Israel Radio cited a report by Lebanese newspaper A-Liwaa on Friday.
According to the report, Frederick Hoff, assistant to US Middle East Peace Envoy George Mitchell, told Lebanese Army chief of staff Jean Kahwaji that Israel
was ready to implement a plan to destroy within four hours all Lebanese military infrastructure, including army bases and offices, should a similar confrontation occur in the future.
IDF Lt.-Col. (res.) Dov Harari, 45, was killed and Capt. (res.) Ezra Lakia was seriously wounded, as well three LAF soldiers and one Lebanese journalist killed, when both sides exchanged fire after IDF soldiers attempted to cut down a tree on the Israeli side of the border.
Hot air balloons equipped with cameras, self-destruction mechanisms, being used by Israel to collect intelligence on Lebanon.
August 29, 2010 Claims of Arab media, could be true, but do not trust
The Lebanese army is claiming that Israel is using hot air balloons equipped with cameras to collect intelligence.
Firing back would reveal location of weapons.
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September 4, 2010
Explosion at a Hellzballah weapons depot in the village of Shehabiyeh.
Several explosions caused a large fire in a southern village.
5 people were injured.
This proves Hellzballah is holding weapons in heart of civilian population, endangering southern Lebanon residents.
Hizballah strikes US troops in Iraq, clears way for anti-Israel Eastern Front
Why did Nasrallah devote his pro-Palestinian speech to Iraq?
Hizballah actions terrorize, subvert and destabilize Iraq.
Hizballah is striking US targets in Iraq as sub-contractor for Iran and Syria.
Iran in Kabul is paying $1,000 to Taliban for every American soldier they kill in Afghanistan.
There is a wave of anti-US terror in Iraq and Afghanistan, without Israel lifting a finger.
Hizballah are working directly with 2 Iraqi Shiite affiliates in IRAQ to terrorize, subvert and destabilize Iraq on behalf of Syria and Iran.
September 20, 2010 DEBKAfile Exclusive Report
Ahmadinejad stopped in Damascus Sept. 18th on his way to New York to finalize plans with Syria to back Hizballah coup against the Hariri government in Beirut.
Ahmadinejad and Assad of one mind. DUH!
Hizballah mobilized troops and had 5,000 armed men deployed in Beirut, ready to make good on its threat to seize power. Hizballah took over the Beirut airport to shield a criminal from being arrested.
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