Hizbollah Trades Fire
With Israeli Troops


BEIRUT (Reuters) - Lebanon's Hizbollah guerrillas and Israeli soldiers traded fire over the two countries' volatile border Tuesday and each side accused the other of shooting first.
It was the most serious incident on the border since U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell traveled to Beirut and Damascus last month to urge them to rein in Hizbollah, which has effective control in south Lebanon.
Israel lodged a formal complaint with United Nations peacekeeping force that monitors the border.
"This very serious incident once again points to the government of Lebanon's lack of control over the border with Israel and its incompetence in preventing terror attacks from its territory," the army said in a statement.
In Beirut, Hizbollah said a statement its forces returned fire on an Israeli army vehicle that had targeted a guerrilla observation post near the Rameish border crossing.
The Israeli army denied its forces had fired first and said its troops were under strict orders not to shoot into Lebanon.
Israeli military officials said guerrillas in Lebanese territory fired dozens of rounds at an Israeli patrol, hitting their vehicle and a rescue vehicle that came to the scene shortly afterwards but wounding no one.
"Our forces did absolutely not start shooting first. We have no interest in heating up the border area," an Israeli army spokeswoman said.
Since Powell's visit the border area has been mostly quiet, although shrapnel from Hizbollah anti-aircraft fire at Israeli planes fell on the northern Israeli town of Shlomo Monday. There were no casualties in that incident.
Since helping end Israel's 22-year occupation of south Lebanon in May 2000, Hizbollah has vowed to drive Israeli troops from the Shebaa Farms, which the guerrillas, their Syrian patrons and the Lebanese government claim is Lebanese soil.
The United Nations deems Israel's pullout from Lebanon as complete and calls the area, which lies at the junction of the Lebanese border and the Golan Heights, Syrian land occupied by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war.
From Joseph Ehrlich
Today's suicide bombing near Tel-Aviv is all it took to set aside peace efforts. Sharon will now escalate the removal of the remaining terrorists; the manner of which will serve as a basis for the Saudi's to recant their peace initiative.
The US is playing dirty and tough here, and we see first signs here and in Nepal of counter moves by the Chinese. Incredibly, the vast majority of Americans have no idea whatsoever about China, totally unaware that the true dynamic driving daily events and carving out the future all connect with China.
The first day's evaluation is that China does appear to be countering President Bush's new let's play tough stance.
There are going to be a number of political assassinations in the days and weeks ahead. Many will be masked as accidents.


This Site Served by TheHostPros