Josh Wood

A journalist's observations on Lebanon and elsewhere

Clashes on Blue Line today

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Today saw the Lebanese-Israeli divide at the Blue Line break into violence for the first time in a long time.  There have been the occasional rockets fired from Lebanon by random groups at times since the 2006 war, but this has clearly been the biggest outbreak in the last four years.

Details are still murky.  UNIFIL is currently trying to get a handle of what has happened down there.  It appears that several Lebanese citizens – three soldiers and a journalist from Al Akhbar – have died in the fighting and there are reports of an Israeli officer KIA.  Feed from the TV which I’ve been glued to all day showed thick fighting on the Lebanese road that skirts the Blue Line and Israeli security road between the villages of Addaiseh and Kfar Kila.  UNIFIL soldiers could be seen ducking for cover alongside journalists under very audible machinegun fire.  Also shown were Merkava tanks on the security road and Lebanese soldiers armed with RPGs.

It will take a while to figure out exactly what has happened today as the reports are still filtering in.

The real sticking issue though, revolves around whether Katyusha rockets were launched against Israel today (as reported earlier) or if this was the result of tense nerves over the Israelis allegedly trying to uproot a tree on Lebanese soil.  If it is the former, this could get worse.

I was going to blog a little bit earlier, talking about how when there is a situation in say, Gaza, it could lead to quite real problems on Israel’s other tense borders.  Yesterday we saw militants launch rockets at Eilat, apparently from the Sinai, seemingly in retaliation for the weekend’s violence in the Gaza Strip.  What happens in Gaza, in short, has the propensity to make people act in other places – do do things, like fire rockets, that they wouldn’t have necessarily otherwise done.  Did this just happen in Lebanon?

Of course, Israel’s last war on Lebanon came in a cycle of violence that began with the June 2006 kidnapping of Gilad Shalit by Hamas.  Israel subsequently began operations against the Gaza Strip and in July Hezbollah eventually launched its own operation to capture Israeli soldiers, kicking off the war.

Last night was the first time since Friday that Gaza didn’t see violence.  But, to keep up to date on the situation over that way follow the excellent reports from my buddy Theo May on twitter or at his blog.

Nasrallah is speaking tonight at 7 PM Beirut time, should have some interesting things to say.

Update

Israelis have been denying that katyusha rockets landed in northern Israel today.  UNIFIL has no information on possible rockets neither does Lebanese media.  So it’s looking like today was just an extremely rare skirmish between the Lebanese Armed Forces and the IDF.

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Written by woodenbeirut

August 3, 2010 at 5:02 pm

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