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4 Lebanese, 1 Isreali killed in clashes

08-04-2010 08:47 BJT

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Five people have been killed in a border fighting between Israel and Lebanon.The battle began over the removal of a tree.

The victims include a Lebanese journalist, three Lebanese soldiers and a senior Israeli officer.

It is the most serious clash since the two countries had a fierce skirmish four years ago.

The violence apparently erupted over a move by Israeli soldiers to cut down a tree along the fence dividing the two countries. The tree is a symbol of the level of tensions at the border where Israel fought a war in 2006 with the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah.

The war left 12-hundred Lebanese and about 160 Israelis dead.

After the war, the UN deployed a 12-thousand-member peacekeeping force, known as UNIFIL, in the area.

Lebanon says the clash started when Israeli troops tried to remove the tree from the Lebanese side of the border.

Michel Faroun, Lebanese State Minister, said, "Today we have seen the Israeli army penetrating to the Lebanese territory which prompted the Lebanese army to answer this violation. We hope the Security Council and UNIFIL in the South of Lebanon will take act and prevent any violation of the 1701 of the Lebanese territory from the Israeli Army."

Tuesday's clash did not appear to involve Hezbollah fighters. But Shiite Hezbollah guerrillas later warned if Israel targets the Lebanese military again, the guerrilla force will act.

The Israeli military says in a statement the tree was in Israeli territory, and the tree cutting was coordinated with the UN peacekeeping force in south Lebanon. The Israeli military's northern commander accuses Lebanese forces of shooting toward forces inside Israeli territory.

Gadi Eizenkot, Israeli Northern Command Head, said, "In our understanding this was a premeditated action, a provocation, by the Lebanese army that carried out this shooting towards forces inside Israeli territory without any provocation. We see this as an extremely serious incident."

UN Security Council members expressed "deep concern" over the incident. UN peacekeepers in Lebanon are calling on both armies to exercise "maximum restraint" after the border incident.

The US says they are "extremely concerned" and reacted swiftly to the clash. The US says it has been working with other members of the international community to calm the situation.

Editor:Zhang Pengfei |Source: CNTV.CN

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