Israeli Warplanes Fly Low over South Lebanon

Israeli warplanes on Sunday flew low over south Lebanon, already the target of an overnight reconnaissance flight, a Lebanese security official said.

"At least five aircraft over flew the Bint Jbeil region (south of Beirut) and headed for the port town of Tyre" farther north, the official told AFP.

The security official said an Israeli MK-type reconnaissance aircraft flew over the south all night until dawn broke.

Meanwhile, the Lebanese army and the U.N. Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) have stepped up security at the border with Israel and in the whole of south Lebanon in the wake of Israel’s attack on Gaza, a military spokesman told AFP.

"The army and UNIFIL have strengthened security measures in the south of the country to stop anyone from exploiting the situation beyond protesting against the Zionist aggression on the Gaza strip," the spokesman said.

Tension remains high in the area two years after the 34-day summer war in 2006 between Israel and Lebanon’s Shiite Hezbollah movement which devastated the south of the country.

Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah, who was expected to speak later on Sunday about the deadly Israeli air attacks on Gaza, has threatened to "destroy" Israel if a new conflict erupts.

Israel says Hezbollah has "tripled its firepower" since the 2006 conflict and has pledged to attack Lebanese civilian locations in the event of renewed hostilities.

Israeli flights over Lebanon are in breach of U.N. Security Council resolution 1710, which in August 2006 ended the Israel-Hezbollah war.

U.N. forces and the army had already increased patrols on the frontier after the discovery on Thursday of eight Katyusha rockets pointed at Israel and ready for firing.

The area where the rockets were found is a Hezbollah stronghold and lies less than five kilometers (three miles) from the border with Israel.

During the 2006 war, Hezbollah fired around 4,000 rockets towards Israel.

More than 1,200 Lebanese people, mostly civilians, died in the war, which killed 160 Israelis, mostly soldiers.

(AFP via Alarabiya.net)

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