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Tripartite Security Talks in South Lebanon

Senior IDF officials met with their Lebanese counterparts at the UNIFIL headquarters in Naqoura to discuss recent incidents.
By Gabe Kahn.
First Publish: 12/15/2011, 5:25 PM

Senior Israeli and Lebanese military officials on Thursday met in Naqoura, in southern Lebanon, to discuss recent incidents that have ratcheted up tensions along the de facto border between the two nations, known as the Blue Line.

Commanders from the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), which operates south of the Litani river in Lebanon, also attended the meeting.

Two weeks ago, a salvo of rockets was fired from south Lebanon into northern Israel by the PFLP-allied Abdullah Azzam Shaheed Brigades, prompting Israel to retaliate by firing six artillery shells at the launch site.

On Friday, five French peacekeepers serving with UNIFIL were wounded in a roadside bomb attack near the southern coastal city of Tyre.

A rocket, aimed at Israel, was also fired late Sunday from the Lebanese south but fell short, landing and wounding a resident in the Lebanese border town of Houla.

UNIFIL commander Major General Alberto Asarta Cuevas (Spain) urged Lebanese authorities Wednesday to step up efforts to prevent destabilizing acts in the south, in the wake of the recent bombings and rocket launchings.

His comments were echoed by former Lebanese Prime Minister and Future Movement leader Saad Hariri who warned using Lebanon's south to "settle scores" could end in a strategic debacle for Beirut.

“The government seems to be in a coma, ignoring what happened or even hiding the truth,” Hariri said.

“Such matters do not happen just like that. It is a Syrian message from Assad through his [Hizbullah] friends in Lebanon," he added.

Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea also blamed Hizbullah for the escalating tensions. “Hizbullah is directly or indirectly responsible for the operations carried out against UNIFIL."

“In the south, the real authority belongs to Hizbullah and the real security presence in the south is for Hizbullah,” he said.

The Hizbullah terror organization has more men under arms and larger stockpiles of munitions than the Lebanese Armed Forces.

None of the participants in the four-hour tripartite security conference at the UN's Naquora headquarters issued a statement.