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Report: Lebanese army mobilizing on Israeli border

JERUSALEM (JTA) — The Lebanese army has declared a state of high alert on its border with Israel and moved tanks to the area, Lebanese media are reporting.

The Israeli daily Ha’aretz cited the official Lebanese news agency as saying that the move was in response to the movement of four Israeli tanks in the Shebaa Farms area, near Hassan Kasar, where there is a crossing into Lebanon.

The news agency also reported that six Israeli military planes had entered Lebanese airspace and circled the area, according to Ha’aretz.

The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon also has raised its alert level in the area, the reports said.

Earlier Tuesday, the Israeli military’s chief of staff said that Israel’s northern border is quiet, despite the recent explosion of a hidden weapons cache.

"We are following closely the activity on the northern border," Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi said during a visit to the Israeli Defense Forces induction headquarters in Tel Aviv. "In general it is quiet and I am not aware of any winds of war in the region."

Recent events on Israel’s border with Lebanon have led experts to suggest that the terrorist organization Hezbollah may be attempting to draw Israel into a conflict. Israel fought a war with Hezbollah in the summer of 2006.

Earlier this month, a large explosion in southern Lebanon was found to be caused by a hidden underground Hezbollah weapons cache. UNIFIL peacekeepers were prevented from investigating the area.

Hezbollah is claiming the weapons were not smuggled in, which would be in violation of United Nations Resolution 1701 ending the 2006 conflict, but rather were left behind by Israel.

"We view the event with gravity, but we do not anticipate a disruption of quiet in the area," Ashkenazi said.

Israel’s U.N. ambassador, Gabriela Shalev, told the U.N. Security Council on Monday that the explosion "exposed the world to a dangerous phenomenon that Israel has been warning about for years" — that Hezbollah is continuing to operate in southern Lebanon, in violation of Resolution 1701.

"This terrorist group threatens Israel, Lebanon and the region as it continues to build its military infrastructure," Shalev said.
 

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