- 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
- 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
- "Our forces did absolutely not start shooting first.
We have no interest in heating up the border area," an Israeli army
- 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.