Report: Hezbollah carries out military drills in south Lebanon
Al Arabiya TV: Shi'ite group engaged in maneuvers south of Litani River in breach of UN Resolution 1701.
Hezbollah engaged in military practice drills south of the Litani River on Saturday, according to a report by the pan-Arab satellite news station Al-Arabiya and cited by Israel Radio.
Though the maneuvers focused on force deployment in mountainous areas and did not include any live fire exercises, holding such exercises south of the Litani would be a breach of the terms of UN Security Council Resolution 1701, which bans any Hezbollah activity there.
Resolution 1701 calls or a full cessation of hostilities between Israel and Hezbollah, who engaged in a month-long conflict in southern Lebanon during the summer of 2006. The resolution also calls for withdrawal of both Israeli and Hezbollah troops from southern Lebanon, to be replaced by UNIFIL peacekeeping troops. It also requires Hezbollah to disarm.
Hezbollah would not comment on the veracity of the report, according to Israel Radio.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak met last month with the commander of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon to protest Hezbollah's continued arms smuggling from Syria, in violation of Security Council Resolution 1701.
Barak said the Israel Defense Forces is closely monitoring the Lebanon border, and has seen Hezbollah gaining strength over the past two years, with close Syrian assistance. "The repeated violation of 1701 could lead us to upset of the delicate balance that exists in Lebanon, and it poses a substantive danger to the entire region," Barak said.
The UNIFIL commander also met last month with IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi, who similarly complained to the visiting UNIFIL commander about continued arms smuggling. The two also discussed Israel's withdrawal from the divided border town of Ghajar.