Lebanese men prevent UNIFIL from inspecting building
JPost.com Staff , THE JERUSALEM POST Jul. 18, 2009
A Lebanese security official said Saturday residents of a southern village
have prevented UN peacekeeping forces from searching an abandoned building
near a suspected Hizbullah weapons depot that recently exploded.
The official said dozens of villagers in Bir el-Salasel surrounded UN
vehicles Saturday and ordered the peacekeepers to leave. He spoke on
condition of anonymity.
The village is close to Khirbet Silim, the site of Tuesday's explosion in an
abandoned building about 15 kilometers from the Israeli border. Hizbullah
has strong support among the area's population.
UN peacekeepers had no immediate comment on the incident, and Hizbullah has
remained silent since the explosion occurred.
Earlier, UNIFIL peacekeepers boosted their forces along the southern
Lebanese border, hours after a group of 15 Lebanese civilians carrying
Lebanese and Hizbullah flags crossed into Israel.
The group, which included several children, entered Israel via the northern
border with Lebanon where there is no border fence, and returned to the
Lebanese side of the border after several minutes.
IDF troops spotted the group, and seeing that it was unarmed, decided not to
Nonetheless, the army stressed that the incident was a violation of UNSC
"Any individual who crosses the border must consider the possibility of
getting hurt," the IDF said in a statement.
Earlier Friday, Hizbullah chief Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah accused Israel of
being "a racist state."
In a televised speech, he said that Israel had been "placed at the heart" of
the Middle East, and decried its "respect from the whole world."
"The whole world expresses its understanding of [Israel's] brutality, and
its killing of thousands," he went on. "The G8, the UN Security Council, and
the entire world express their understanding" for alleged Israeli abuses.
Meanwhile, the Kuwaiti newspaper A Siyassa reported on Saturday that the
explosion which occurred in southern Lebanon earlier in the week killed a
number of Hizbullah gunmen at a secret military outpost, and did not destroy
a hidden weapons depot as was initially stated.
"The geographical layout of the area where the outpost was situated, as well
as its relative proximity to the border proves that it could not be an arms
depot, but rather an outpost on the front lines," a military source defined
as "credible" told the paper.
On Wednesday, the IDF released video footage taken from an Israeli aircraft,
showing a home that had exploded on Tuesday in the village of Hirbet Selm -
located some 20 kilometers north of the Lebanese border. The roof is seen in
the footage with dozens of holes, which IDF ballistic experts said were the
size of 122-mm. Katyusha rockets.
However, the Kuwaiti paper claimed that the weapons which exploded in the
area included short range anti-tank missiles, and anti-tank mines. They made
no mention of longer range rockets.