News from Beirut August 7 1997 ...Search

South Lebanon- The Cycle of Violence Is On

-An Italian chopper serving under UNIFIL in south Lebanon yesterday exploded for unclear reasons over the village Tiri in the occupied Bint Jbeil region . The chopper exploded 9.45 p.m. in the air while in routine mission. All crewmen were reported killed including three Italians on board, one of them is the pilot and two other unidentified men. UNIFIL spokesman Tymur Goxyl said the chopper was in a night -flight reconnaissance training. Investigating reason of the explosion is underway. The two predicted major reasons of the explosion were either firing at the chopper or a technical failure. The incident was described vague and unclear. Israel declared state of alert among its forces in the occupied security zone in south Lebanon. Papers in Beirut linked the vague explosion to another vague incident at Jezzine where a blast exploded two days on Kfarhoune-Jezzine main road killing a Lebanese civilian. Hizbullah denied it has planted the blast, Lebanon filed a complaint to the ceasefire monitoring panel accusing Israel of planting the blast, Israel did the same.

-SLA sources in south Lebanon said a barrage of Katyusha rockets were fired yesterday at 11.25 p.m. directed at north Israel. The rockets were fired from the outskirts of Shaqra village. The Islamic resistance said its rockets targeted the Israeli outposts at Blat and Richa in the western sector of the security zone. In an urgent dispatch at 1.00 dawn today Hizbullah resistance men told a news agency they fired more than 30 katyusha rockets against Israel later Wednesday.

-Jezzine town yesterday staged a strike protesting the blast explosion on Tuesday which killed a Lebanese civilian.

-Commander of Israel's coordination committee in south Lebanon Ge. Emitai yesterday announced that Israel will not allow Hizbullah to continue its assaults and it knows how to find Hizbullah and strike it same as it happened in Kfour. Emitai, touring the eastern sector of the security zone, said his government will never negotiate Hizbullah but only the Lebanese government. He praised the SLA and its commander saying his government will continue to support it. He added that Israel will not evacuate the region until after dismantling the terrorist groups and ensuring the future of Israel's allies. He said the evacuation will be only in favor of the Lebanese state and a strong Lebanese army, but there is no one to negotiate with on the other side. He said that requires a very long time but Israel is waiting.

-Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon received with caution news saying that the two suiciders bombers in Jerusalem were residents of the camps in Lebanon. Hamas representative in Lebanon said he cannot give any comment until the news are cleared. Fatah former official Munir Makdah said his group hails such operations but he can't confirm that the suiciders are from the camps in Lebanon. Makdah said if the Israelis have information on who carried the bombing let it be released, "so that we go and give our blessings to their parents". Secretary general of the PLO groups in Sidon Khaled Aref denied any training camp inside the Palestinian camps in Ain Helwe or elsewhere, also denied that any of the Ain Helwe camp's fighters has joined the Palestinian self authority police force.

-Israel's foreign ministry yesterday criticized declarations given by the French foreign ministry's spokesman on the Israeli military activities in south Lebanon. The Israeli statement said Israel's activities are exclusively against Hizbullah and in retaliation to sabotage operations carried by the organization. It claimed that Hizbullah has established its bases inside the populated areas knowing that it endanger civilians. The statement said its not Israel's policy to threat civilians and its army is doing all it can to avert civilians.

-Israel yesterday freed Lebanese journalist Roger Nohra who was arrested along with three members of his family a month ago in south Lebanon.

Lebanon's Cabinet, Declaration of War Against Disobedience

-Lebanon's cabinet at a weekly meeting yesterday declared what was tantamount to a "state of emergency". The cabinet adopted proposals presented by the interior minister Michel Murr aimed to quell revolutions and civil disobedience. President Elias Hrawi quoted saying during the meeting he won't accept to head a state which some people want it to be loose and in chaos. He called for not allowing anyone to use resistance and the spirit of martyrdom for chaotic purposes. His remark was tantamount to a declaration of war against disobedience. He was critical to the government and the security agencies for their loose toward the parties that defied law and order. Leading editorials today said the government measures are now at the stake of implementation with sheikh Subhi Tufeili being the major target.

-The cabinet decision called the prosecutions to move on against all those calling any form of revolutions and civil disobedience or any other move that violate law and order. It called the defense and interior ministers to instruct the army, ISF and other military and security agencies to ban gatherings, deter all violations namely the illegal constructions, close all unlicensed media stations, and to enforce law and order in all the country, "strictly and firmly without considering what is beyond law, peace and state order and authority". The cabinet asked the interior minister to call on the central security council to meet whenever needed to deal with any urgent matter that relate to these issues, also to take the necessary decisions to enforce the cabinet decision, and to inform the media of the real situation. The cabinet also asked the interior minister to lay down the technical and legal mechanism on illegal constructions.

Lebanon-Egypt, Premier's Visit

-Egypt's prime minister Kamal Janzouri is expected to arrive today to Beirut in the first such visit on such level since the diplomatic relation was established between the two countries. Late president Jamal abdul Nasser visited the border point March 1959 to then meet late president Fouad Chehab, also Egyptian late president Anwar Sadat visited Lebanon in the 60's when he was a house speaker. Janzouri is presiding a senior level delegation that will participate in the meeting of Lebanon-Egypt high committee that starts today. The Lebanese counterpart and his delegation to the talks have finalized their files. The high committee was formed during Rafik Hariri's visit to Cairo in 1996. Prime minister Hariri said Lebanon supports the Arab common market and free trading between Lebanon and Egypt.


-House speaker Nabih Berri said immunity of MP Najah Wakim is decided by the parliament. He said Wakim enjoys an immunity that only the parliament can lift. Berri was quoted saying that the state prosecution asked a permission from the lawyer's bar to prosecute Wakim, who is a lawyer at the same time, but did not ask the same permission from the parliament.

-The Maronite bishops at a meeting headed by patriarch Sfair called for a serious treatment of what is going on in south Lebanon especially in Jezzine. They said in a statement that the civil disobedience should not treated by force or through banning the free expression and demonstration but it should be treated by responding to right demands. The statement criticized the government for exhausting the public with its charges and taxes at a time the public money is wasted and deals are concluded.

-Opposition figure Albert Mukheiber's group the Gathering for the Republic urged the Lebanese people to initiate to work on changing all what is existing and to express its anger with democratic means, including demonstrations and popular rallies in every town and village until the nightmare is over.

-Former prime minister Omar Karami during a tour in Akkar region said referring MP Najah Wakim to investigation is unconstitutional but he is against civil disobedience.

-The parliamentary defense committee hailed the Lebanese army and the resistance for their role in repelling the Israeli recent military raid at Kfour. The committee denounced Israel's targeting civilians and called the government to take more measures to ensure their safety.

-Druze acting sheikh Akl Bahjat Ghaith said it is the right of the Druze community to have its own religious media station. In north Lebanon, the T.V station and radio station that were run by the Tawheed movement under sheikh Saeed Shaaban continued to defy the government decision to close unlicensed stations.

-Samir Geagea's defendants say the Lebanese state has deprived Samir Geagea many of his rights, including his continued solitary, not to mix up with other prisoners, preventing his lawyers to meet him without barrier to prepare their defense, and going out for walk that is stipulated in law, also deprived him of the right to send letters to his wife.

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