News from Beirut August 21  1997 ...Search

South Lebanon

-Israel's three air raids August 20 served as a notice and warning to Lebanon and Syria. The raid against the electricity supply station at Jieh was a warning that Israel would strike Lebanon's vital sectors and torpedo the reconstruction process.

The second raid against the citrus field at Zahrani near a Lebanese army post was another warning to the Lebanese army not to strike at the Israeli and SLA posts. The third air raid against Junta in Bekaa near the Syrian borders was a message and signal to Syria that Israel will escalate the situation if Syria does not intervene to curb Hizbullah. The three raids-signals were saying "be quiet and we shall do the same".

- Fresh reports from south Lebanon this evening said the Israeli forces combed for an hour hills overlooking the village Zibqine 30 kms from Tyre, also said that Israel's warplanes staged mock raids over Nabatieh and Iqlim Toffah and flew on low altitude over Sidon. The relative calm that prevailed today was marred by a roadside bomb explosion at Dahr Ramleh in Jezzine.

A Lebanese truck driver from Bater in Chuf was killed in the explosion. Hizbullah blamed Israel for planting the bomb. SLA commander Antoine Lahd blamed the government in Beirut and said it is responsible for these incidents. He said if these incidents continue he will retaliate .

-The five nation cease-fire monitoring committee meeting is still going on at Naqoura but it is not clear how it will make a final conclusion and how to give life to the April's understanding. Member of the Lebanese delegation said it is difficult to reach common denominators on the statement that will be issued. It is not clear too if the intensive diplomacy on regional and international levels could brake the recent spate of violence.

-President Elias Hrawi said at the opening of the cabinet meeting that the internal unity is a cornerstone in facing the developments and aggressions. He said the national obligation dictates all Lebanese to maintain their unity and cohesiveness.

He said he noticed that the Lebanese solidarity will urge the international and friendly countries to stand beside Lebanon and to face the aggressions and hardships. Hrawi said all the diplomatic contacts put emphasis on rejecting military escalation. The council of ministers affirmed that "Jezzine First" was not a proposal presented by the government neither from the people of Jezzine and that the government is committed to the policy that was practiced in the past years emphasizing the liberation of the occupied land.

-House speaker Nabih Berri after a morning meeting with president Hrawi calmed the public and said the situation does not require any fear . He excluded a large scale operation and said the solution is through returning to the April's understanding.

-Prime minister Rafik Hariri denounced the Israeli criminal action and said the diplomatic contacts succeeded to halt the military escalation. He affirmed that Lebanon is committed to the April's understanding. Hariri visited his hometown Sidon and checked wounded people at the local hospitals.

-Commander of the Lebanese army Gen. Emile Lahoud checked the army advanced posts in south Lebanon. He praised the army retaliatory fire against the shelling of Sidon. Gen.Lahoud said the army has embodied its right to defend the Lebanese people.

-A Lebanese army military source said in a statement issued Aug. 20 that the army artillery fire was directed against the artillery posts which fired first. The statement said the Israeli warnings will not make the Lebanese army refrain to exercise its right to defend its people and land.

-Lebanese foreign minister Fares Boueiz expressed his worry over the renewal of the Israeli military escalation.


-Lebanese and Iraqi football teams are going to play this evening at Beirut municipal stadium for the first time since 1988. The Lebanese Football Federation hosted the Iraqi delegation at a dinner in Brummana.

-The Lebanese Football Federation and Viceroy will announce Friday the result of selecting the best player in Viceroy Cup/97.

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