Lebanon-Israel.--Israel Retaliates to Rocket Fire from Lebanon; No Casualties Reported
--U.S. And U.N. Condemn and Urge Restraint
--Local Media See Rocket Fire as Message from Hizbullah
--Siniora Says Firing of Rockets on Israel and Israeli Response Are Unacceptable
--Suleiman's Reaction to Hariri's Cabinet Lineup A criminal investigation technique in which the police arrange a number of individuals in a row before a witness to a crime and ask the witness to identify which, if any, of the individuals committed the crime. Remains Mystery
At least two rockets from Lebanon struck northern Israel on Friday, prompting Israeli artillery to shell the fruit groves from which they were fired, security officials on both sides of the border said. No casualties were immediately reported on either side, but the story was front-paged by the Lebanese media on Saturday. Lebanese security sources, who reported at least two outgoing missiles and 15 incoming Israeli shells, did not say who might have fired the rockets. An Israeli military spokesman confirmed that Israel fired about a dozen artillery rounds in response to several rockets.
The Israeli army holds the Lebanese government responsible for preventing such attacks, the spokesman said. It was the first time since February that rockets had been fired from Lebanon into Israel, raising tensions along a border that remains volatile three years after a war between the Jewish state and Hizbullah Islamist guerrillas in Lebanon. Occasional salvoes since then have been blamed by Israeli, Lebanese and U.N. peacekeeping peace·keep·ing
Of or relating to the preservation of peace, especially the supervision by international forces of a truce between hostile nations.
peace forces in the area largely on fringe militant groups rather than on Hizbullah, the Iranian-and Syrian-backed Shiite movement which remains a powerful force in Lebanon, especially in the south.
US, UN Condemn
Both Washington and the United Nations condemned the violence and urged continued adherence to a 2006 truce that ended a month-long war between Israel and Hizbullah. P.J. Crowley, a spokesman for the U.S. State Department, said the rocket fire was in "clear violation" of that ceasefire and showed "the urgent need to bring arms in Lebanon under control of the state." United Nations Secretary-General The Secretary-General of the United Nations is the head of the Secretariat, one of the principal organs of the United Nations. The Secretary-General acts as the de facto spokesperson and leader of the United Nations. Ban Ki-moon Ban Ki-Moon (bän kē-mn), 1944–, South Korean diplomat, secretary-general of the United Nations (2007–), b. Chungju, grad. Seoul National Univ. (B.S. urged both sides, in a statement, to exercise restraint and said U.N. peacekeeping troops known as United Nations Interim force in Lebanon The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon, or UNIFIL, was created by the United Nations, with the adoption of Security Council Resolution 425 and 426 on March 19, 1978, to confirm Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon, restore international peace and security, and help the (UNIFIL) were "investigating the circumstances of the incident." During Israel's offensive against Hamas Islamists in the Gaza Strip Gaza Strip (gäz`ə), (2003 est. pop. 1,330,000) rectangular coastal area, c.140 sq mi (370 sq km), SW Asia, on the Mediterranean Sea adjoining Egypt and Israel, in what was formerly SW Palestine. in January, Hizbullah denied responsibility for several rockets fired from Lebanon. Security officials have said small groups active among Palestinian refugees or with links to al-Qaeda were more likely to have mounted the attacks.
The incident Friday occurred at a time Lebanon was still trying to form a government, the first since last June's general election. Prime Minister-designate Saad al-Hariri had abandoned his efforts to for a national unity government, blaming his political opponents, led by Hizbullah, for obstructing his mission. Lebanese President Michel Suleiman has scheduled fresh consultations with lawmakers to designate another prime minister, which is likely to be 39-year-old Hariri again.
Message from Hizbullah
Media commentators and analysts interviewed on local TV channels Friday speculated that Hizbullah guerrillas, who swarm the south Lebanon region, might have fired the rockets on northern Israel as a way of sending messages in several directions. First, to show the majority in parliament which is trying to form the government "that if our demands are not met, there will be no security on the border." Hizbullah has supported the demands of its ally Christian leader and MP Michel Aoun Michel Naim Aoun (Arabic: ميشال عون) (born 19 february 1935 in Haret Hreik, Lebanon) is a Lebanese military commander and politician. , who insists on having a share in the new government greater than the majority could afford to give him.
The analysts also noted the timing of the incident with the commencement of nuclear talks between Iran and the West. Hizbullah, which is generally regarded as a proxy militia militia (məlĭsh`ə), military organization composed of citizens enrolled and trained for service in times of national emergency. Its ranks may be filled either by enlistment or conscription. of the Iranian regime, perhaps wanted to send a message to the Western powers not to play in the talks with Tehran.
Outgoing Prime Minister Fuad Siniora commented on the incident Friday by saying "the firing of rockets on Israel and Israel's response are both unacceptable." He described what happened as "extremely serious," and reaffirmed Lebanon's commitment to U.N. resolution 1701, which ended the Israeli-Hizbullah war of 2006.
As far the formation of government is concerned, no one knows yet what President Suleiman's exact reaction was to Hariri's proposed cabinet lineup. Suleiman has set Tuesday and Wednesday of next week for consultations with members of parliament amid reports that he will likely re-designate Hariri. Hariri's Christian and Druze allies have already declared their support for him. In a traditional Ramadan Iftar on Friday, Hariri explained the circumstances which forced him to quit the mission to form a government. In the televised speech, he said that opposition had put conditions "and demanded the president and prime minister-designate carry out those conditions," indicating that the opposition professed pro·fess
v. pro·fessed, pro·fess·ing, pro·fess·es
1. To affirm openly; declare or claim: "a physics major to be the majority.
"At that point, I had to object to this wrong reading of the Lebanese constitution," Hariri said. "I refuse to help transform the position of the presidency and the premiership into a post office box for exchanging messages." He said he quit in the interest of the presidency, the premiership and in defense of the constitution. Hariri again called for calm and stability in order to facilitate the president's efforts to form a new government.