Assad: We'll support Lebanon in face of criminal Israeli aggression
UN peacekeepers urge 'maximum restraint' after Israeli and Lebanese soldiers exchange fire along border, killing 4 Lebanese.
Tuesday's deadly exchange of fire between Israel and the Lebanese army along Israel's northern border sparked outrage among Arab leaders. Syrian President Bashar Assad said hours after the confrontation that Syria will stand by Lebanon "in the face of Israel's criminal aggression."
Assad was quoted by the official Syrian news agency as having said that the "Israeli aggression proves once again that Israel is making every effort to shake the stability in the region."
"The United Nations and the international community must condemn and prevent the Israeli aggression," Assad was quoted as saying.
Lebanese President Michel Suleiman condemned the Israeli fire, declaring that Lebanon will have to respond "at any cost to the victims." Suleiman added that Israel Defense Forces had infiltrated Lebanese territory – in violation of UN Security Council resolution 1701, which ended the 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah in southern Lebanon.
Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri also came out against the day's events, condemning "Israel's violation of Lebanese sovereignty." His office reported that he had contacted Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to discuss retaliatory options for the "Israeli aggression against Lebanon's army."
Israel's Foreign Ministry said it would file a complaint with the UN over the clash, accusing Beirut of violating the 2006 Security Council resolution that ended the war.
"Israel views the Lebanese government as responsible for this serious incident and is warning of the ramifications if the violations continue," the ministry said in a statement.
UN peacekeepers appealed to both sides to exercise "maximum restraint" after the incident.
Three Lebanese soldiers and one Lebanese journalist were killed Tuesday when Israeli soldiers exchanged fire with Lebanese soldiers at the border. The Israeli military said its troops were fired upon while engaged in "routine activity" inside Israeli territory, between an Israeli security fence and a United Nations drawn border line.
An Israeli helicopter fired two missiles at a Lebanese army post near Adaisseh village, destroying an armored personnel carrier. A security source said three Lebanese soldiers and a Lebanese journalist were killed and five people wounded.
Witnesses said Israeli artillery was also fired at the village.