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UNIFIL commander: Israel at fault

An Israeli diplomat reprimanded the UNIFIL commander for saying Israel and not Hezbollah was violating the U.N.-mandated ceasefire in south Lebanon.

Maj. Gen. Claudio Graziano, the Italian who heads the international force policing the ceasefire in the south, said Thursday in an appearance at the United Nations in New York that contrary to Israeli reports, he has not encountered arms smuggling south of the Litani River.

He said he could not comment on arms smuggling across Lebanon’s borders because his force was mandated to stop such smuggling only at the request of the Lebanese government, and that has not happened.

He said Israel was violating U.N. Security Council 1701, which ended the war Hezbollah launched in the summer of 2006, with overflights of the area and by not handing over maps of mines. Graziano said by contrast that his relationship with Hezbollah was “excellent.”

Dan Carmon, the acting head of the Israeli delegation at the United Nation, met with Graziano Friday and reprimanded him, according to reports on Israel Radio and in Ha’aretz. Israeli officials say Hezbollah has up to trebled its arms supplies since the war ended, and that missiles are ensconced north and south of the Litani.

Separately Thursday, the U.N. Mine Action Coordination Center of South Lebanon said it had cleared up to half of the cluster munitions left behind by Israel during that war. Human rights groups say at least 20 people have been killed by cluster bombs that exploded after the war.

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