Our question is what will be the job of UN troops there? Will they defend attacks on both sides, or Israel will have free hand to kill Lebanese civilians?!
Associated France Press 21/8/2006
Israel violated Lebanon ceasefire: Annan
UNITED NATIONS (AFP) - Israel has violated the terms of a UN-mandated halt to fighting in Lebanon, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan said, calling on all parties to respect an embargo on unauthorized arms shipments to Lebanon.
"The Secretary-General is deeply concerned about a violation by the Israeli side of the cessation of hostilities as laid out in Security Council resolution 1701," a statement issued by Annan's spokesman said.
"The incident involved an Israeli raid in eastern Lebanon on Saturday. According to UNIFIL, there have also been several air violations by Israeli military aircraft," it said.
"All such violations of Security Council Resolution 1701 endanger the fragile calm that was reached after much negotiation and undermine the authority of the government of Lebanon."
Annan discussed the matter with Israel Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Siniora Saturday, the UN chief's spokesman said.
Israeli commandos mounted a deadly raid deep inside Lebanon Saturday in the biggest challenge yet to the six-day-old ceasefire that brought a halt to a month of devastating conflict. Israel said the raid was aimed at blocking weapons shipments to the Shiite militia Hezbollah from Iran and Syria.
Lebanon warned it might suspend its troop deployment to Hezbollah's stronghold in the south if the UN failed to ensure Israel honored the UN resolution.
Annan has requested daily reports of compliance with the ceasefire to be provided to the Security Council, according to his spokesman.
"The Secretary-General further calls on all parties to respect strictly the arms embargo, exercise maximum restraint, avoid provocative actions and display responsibility in implementing resolution 1701," the statement read.
The UN Security Council resolution was unanimously approved August 11 after the fighting between Israel and the Shiite militia Hezbollah based in Lebanon had killed almost 1,450 people, mostly Lebanese civilians, according to an AFP tally.
The Israeli army said Saturday one officer was killed and two others wounded in the dawn raid Saturday which was intended to prevent arms being delivered to Hezbollah by Iran and Syria.
Israeli helicopters landed two Hummer vehicles in the mountainous region of Afqa as Israeli jets carried out mock raids as cover, the Lebanese military said.
Israeli forces then drove eastward to the village of Buday where they clashed with Hezbollah militants for about an hour before two helicopters retrieved them.
"The operation was aimed at preventing the delivery of weapons to Hezbollah from Iran and Syria," an Israeli army spokesman said, adding that "all goals were achieved".
There were exchanges of weapons fire earlier this week that left at least four Hezbollah fighters dead, but both sides had downplayed the clashes.
Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Siniora on Saturday denounced the Israeli operation as "a flagrant violation of the agreement for a cessation of hostilities stipulated by the UN Security Council".
His defence minister, Elias Murr, warned that Lebanon would suspend the historic deployment of government troops to Hezbollah's longtime bastion in the south if Israel continued to breach the truce.
"I could ask the cabinet to stop the army's deployment to the south, as we did not send the troops to fall into an Israeli trap," Murr said after talks with visiting UN envoys Vijay Nambiar and Terje Roed-Larsen.
UN Resolution 1701 called for a "full cessation of hostilities based upon, in particular, the immediate cessation by Hezbollah of all attacks and the immediate cessation by Israel of all offensive operations."
It also called for Israeli troops to withdraw from south Lebanon in tandem with the deployment of Lebanese troops and a beefed-up UN peacekeeping force in the area.