Lebanese Prime Minister Fu’ad al-Siniora condemned an Israeli commando raid early Saturday morning against a position held by Hezbollah in the Al-Biqa as ‘a blatant violation of UN Security Council Resolution 1701’ to cease military operations.
Hezbollah issued a statement Saturday afternoon that ‘at 0340 local time, and amid intense aerial activity, the enemy air-dropped a commando force into the Sahl Buday area west of Ba’labakk, where the mujahideen had set an ambush.
‘Fierce confrontations erupted, and the mujahideen used a variety of weapons, leaving many of the force’s members dead or wounded.
‘The enemy’s planes intervened to support the targeted force and operated under an intense cover of gunfire to airlift the force and the wounded, leaving behind some of the medical supplies that were used to treat the wounded soldiers.
‘None of the mujahideen were wounded.’
Lebanese Parliament Speaker Nabih Birri called on the United Nations to announce a clear position on Israel’s renewed aggression on Lebanon in the form of the landing it conducted last Saturday in the town of Buday in the Al-Biqa area.
During his reception of a UN delegation comprising Terje Roed-Larsen, special envoy of the UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, Vijay Nambiar, special adviser to Annan and Geir Pederson, Annan’s personal representative in Lebanon, Birri said that had it been Lebanon that committed this violation, the Security Council would have convened and quickly ordered sanctions against it.
Birri went on to say that he was confident the resistance would not be dragged into the conspiracy being hatched by the enemy, and that it would not respond to this attack so that all Israel’s actions may be exposed.
Birri was reported to have discussed with Larsen the Israeli siege on Lebanon as well as Israel’s violations.
The UN delegation also visited the Lebanese government’s headquarters and met Prime Minister Fu’ad al-Siniora and discussed with him the latest developments on the Lebanese arena and the mechanisms of the implementation of Resolution 1701.
He also discussed the Israeli landing in the town of Buday at dawn today and its effect on the implementation of the resolution.
Lebanese Foreign Minister Fawzi Sallukh stressed that UN envoys Terje Roed-Larsen and Vijay Nambiar had vowed to inform Israel of the need for it to halt its violations against Lebanon following the landing it staged in the town of Buday at dawn Saturday.
Following his meeting with the international delegation, Sallukh said that if the violations persisted, it would be the Security Council’s duty to act and ask Israel to cease such hostilities.
The leader of Lebanon’s Al-Mustaqbal Parliamentary Bloc, Deputy Sa’d al-Hariri, warned of the dangers that may ensue from the Israeli violations of Resolution 1701.
He said in a statement that the Israeli landing was a serious message to the international community that must not be ignored.
He added that this landing was one of many violations of the resolution on the cessation of hostilities, which included more than an area in southern Lebanon.
He said that this indicated that there might be an Israeli scheme to hinder the deployment of the Lebanese army in the south and to circumvent the international resolution aiming at expanding the operations of the UNIFIL (United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon).
In his statement, Al-Hariri called on UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan to take all necessary measures in order to ensure the implementation of Resolution 1701; namely, providing the political and security requirements for the deployment of the army in southern Lebanon and enabling the international forces to carry out their tasks in accordance with the resolution.
Commenting on the Israeli landing attempt near Ba’labakk, Hasan Haballah, a Hezbollah representative in the Lebanese Chamber of Deputies, said that Israel proved once again that it does not care about the Security Council’s resolutions and that it would continue its aggression on Lebanon.
Haballah said: ‘This is another proof that the Zionist enemy is still continuing its aggression on Lebanon and that it does not care about the resolutions issued by the international community, the United Nations or the Security Council.
‘As we said in the past, it is still continuing its aggression on Lebanon and it has ambitions in this homeland. We believe that what happened is not alien to this enemy.
‘The resistance, however, still insists and asserts that it will repel any aggression by this enemy.’
Asked why the Lebanese army did not repel the Israeli landing operation, Acting Lebanese Interior Minister Ahmad Fatfat said: ‘The Lebanese army has no presence in the areas where the landing operation took place.
‘Perhaps Israel is trying through this operation to draw the army into combat, for which it is not yet ready because it has not completed its deployment.’
Asked if Hezbollah will be the one to confront any future Israeli operations until the Lebanese army becomes ready, Fatfat said: ‘First of all, we should make it clear that Israel carried out a hostile commando operation in a remote area that is not in the city of Ba’labakk.
‘If you look at the map, you will see that Buday is located very far from residential areas. The Lebanese army has no presence in that area.
‘The army is ready in the areas where it is present and deployed. I urge you to be careful when reporting on the Lebanese army.’
He added: ‘It is natural that Hezbollah would respond to Israeli attacks in the areas where it maintains a presence, as happened in Ba’labakk.’
On the area where the landing operation took place, Fatfat said: ‘It is not a border area with Israel; it is not a border area with any neighbouring country.
‘The Lebanese army is not deployed there. It is impossible to deploy a Lebanese soldier in every square meter in Lebanon. This does not exist in any country in the world.’
Fatfat added: ‘Israel has violated the cease-fire and Resolution 1701.
‘It is not only the responsibility of the Lebanese government to deal with this violation, but it is also the responsibility of the United Nations.
‘The prime minister this morning sent a letter of protest to the UN secretary-general and discussed the issue with Terje Roed Larsen.’
Asked about the Lebanese response if Israel violates Resolution 1701 once again, Fatfat said: ‘I want to say once again that this is an international responsibility.
‘It is the responsibility of the United Nations and the countries which drafted and endorsed the Security Council resolution.
‘The Lebanese army will carry out its duty in the areas where it is present.’