Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Israel's statement on Lebanon incident

From Docstalk:

Earlier today Israeli soldiers were fired upon by the Lebanese Army-please note our soldiers were on the Israeli side of the border. There is a gap between the “fence” and the actual border. Our soldiers had coordinated with UNIFIL the ongoing the maintenance work on the fence. We were simply clearing some brush and shrubs from the fence area. You are reminded that this was the location of the abduction of several of our Israeli soldiers a few years ago. There was nothing unique about this ongoing maintenance work.Without provocation our soldiers were fired upon by a sniper(s) and we are still gathering intel on this point of the story. The facts are the soldiers doing the clearing work were located in one position and the Israeli commanders who were supervising the activity were located in an another location. It was these commanders that were initially shot at and regrettably a reserve Lt. Col was killed. A second commander , a Captain, was critically wounded and rushed to hospital. No further information available as to his condition.

This was a clear provocation-the soldiers doing the brush work were not initially fired upon, the Lebanese Army fired directly upon our commanders-clearly violating UN Res. 1701. I can confirm that there were no mortars fired onto our northern border. However, we were asked to cease retaliatory fire when our men were hit-we did so in order to allow the enemy to clear away its fallen soldiers (3). Thirty minutes after we honored the cease fire a RPG unit fired on one of our tanks. They missed, we responded and the RPG group went silent.

The border is now quiet, has been for a few hours. Israel is now engaged in more intel information gathering. This was the worst violation of the border since 2006. An evolving story and we thank the IDF for its work.

From The Muqata, summarizing the Q&A:
Noah Pollak (Commentary Mag): Why was this so well documented on the Lebanese side? Seems odd.

Lt. Col Avital: We are investigating. Were snipers brought especially for this attack? We will know in next few hours.

Michael Totten: Rumors of Hizbollah fighters on scene. Is this true?

Lt. Col Avital: Right now, full responsibility on Lebanese Army. This will be checked.

Lt. Col Avital: Soldiers conducting maintenance work; it was the IDF commanders who watched the work who were shot at.

The Border is currently calm.

Official Casualty Statement:

Lt Col (res) killed: Dov Harari.
Critically wounded (res) company commander (Captain).

Another report I saw via email says that Hezbollah officers might have been in LAF uniforms, because their actions were more Hezbollah-like than LAF-like.

Keep in mind, as I've been reporting, that Hezbollah has been under political pressure from Lebanon for the likelihood that Hezbollah members were behind the assassination of Lebanese prime minister Hariri. This would provide a perfect way to deflect from that scandal.