A member of the Israeli allied militia was injured today in South Lebanon. The militia said the man was slightly wounded when 10 mortar shells hit an allied militia position at Hardun on the border of the Western Sector of the zone Israel occupies in the South. A spokesman for the Amal movement claimed responsibility for the attack. In another development, Lebanese police said mortar fires from the occupied zone fell against the two villages of Majdel Zoun and Mansouri, damaging five houses. But no casualties were reported in the shelling. Meanwhile, a spokesman from the Amal movement confirmed that a man killed yesterday in Israeli shelling southeast of Tyre was a member of the movement but was not on a mission.
Israel today warned that Hizbullah is planning to open a new front in its war with the Jewish state after arresting a German sent by the group to commit a suicide attack in the heart of the country. Stefan Smirak today appeared before a Tel Aviv court one month after he was arrested by police as he arrived in Israel. Police said he confessed to being sent by Hizbullah to scout out a target in Tel Aviv or another Israeli city for a suicide attack which he said Hizbullah had trained him to conduct. The arrest sparked fear in Israel that Hizbullah now planned to open a new front by conducting suicide bombings inside Israel. An Israeli military officer was quoted by the daily Yedioth Ahronoth as saying Hizbullah is looking to expand its front due to its failure to infiltrate through the Northern Israeli border and adding it may start coordinating its attacks with Palestinian Islamic groups. But a statement from Hizbullah denied any connection to Smirak and said it does not need other forms of military operations due to its success in inflicting casualties on Israeli troops in South Lebanon.
The festive mood dominated the country on Christmas morning today. Masses were held in almost every city and village. In Bkirki, Maronite Patriarch Cardinal Nasrallah Boutrous Sfeir held the Christmas sermon which was attended by officials and dignitaries headed by President Elias Al-Hrawi and first lady Mona AL-Hrawi. After the mass Nasrallah and Hrawi received well-wishers on the occasion. In his speech afterwards, President Hrawi hoped Lebanon will return the sovereign and free country of the past. He also reiterated the Lebanese wish of seeing South Lebanon and the Western Bekaa safe from Israeli aggression and free from Israeli occupation. Hrawi also hoped next year a new president will be elected stressing that Lebanon is a democratic and free country. Hrawi said the municipal and mayoral elections will be held next May. He also stressed the importance of national unity and reconciliation adding Lebanon will always be a country of co-existence between Christians and Muslims. Hrawi was later visited at the presidential palace in Baadba by Prime minister Rafik AL-Hariri who congratulated the president on the occasion.
Hundreds of mothers and fathers of Lebanese detainees in Israeli jails today held a strike in front of the International Red Cross headquarters in Hamra. They later marched in Hamra street in protest to the harsh treatment their children got in the detention centers. Every Thursday the mothers converge in the same place and at the same time some holding pictures of their loved ones (children or husbands) and many others crying. On the occasion of Christmas, the mothers called on the international community to pay more attention to their cause and try to recognize their deep suffering. The gathering is usually joined by some deputies and officials in the country.
The Luxurious Hotel in the heart of Kaslik, Jounieh, Lebanon
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