Report: Lebanon Army Raises Alert Along Border With Israel

Lebanese news agency reports deployment of Lebanese forces in response to advancing Israeli tanks.

The official Lebanese news agency reported on Tuesday that the Lebanese army had declared a state of high alert and deployed forces along the border with Israel.

According to the report, the high alert was declared in response to the advancing of Israeli tanks in the Shaba farms area. Reportedly, four Israeli tanks had advanced toward an area called Hassan Kasar, where there is an entrance gate to Lebanon.

The news agency said that the Lebanese army deployed its forces in order to "be prepared to face the Israeli enemy."

The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) also responded to the moves and raised its alert level in the area while monitoring the situation from both sides, the news agency said.

Furthermore, the news agency went on to report, six Israeli aircraft had entered Lebanese airspace and circled the area.

The Hezbollah-linked television network Al Manar reported meanwhile that the commander of the UNIFIL forces, Claudio Graziano, met on Monday with southern Lebanese community leaders and two parliament members affiliated with Hezbollah and the Shi'ite Amal movement.

According to the report, the meeting was convened in order to voice criticism over UNIFIL's conduct following an explosion at an arms cache near the border earlier this month. Israel has argued that the explosion was caused by "an arms cache that consisted of Hezbollah arms, including rockets, mortars, artillery shells, grenades, and additional ammunition which had been brought to the area following the Second Lebanon War." Lebanon, on the other hand, now says that the explosion took place at an uncompleted structure in the village that stored "arms left behind by the Israelis" during the 34-day war.

During the meeting, Al Manar went on to say, Hezbollah representatives warned the UNIFIL commander that southern Lebanon was under the sole authority of the Lebanese army and the Lebanese government, not UNIFIL. The criticism comes after UNIFIL complained that the Lebanese army blocked its troops from the site of the explosion following the incident.

The report also said that upon the conclusion of the meeting, those in attendance met with local residents in effort to restore the good relations between UNIFIL and the locals in southern Lebanon.