President Elias Al-Hrawi today reiterated government efforts will continue to liberate South Lebanon and the Western Bekaa from Israeli occupation. He added, "we want just and comprehensive peace." Hrawi also stressed the importance of balanced development in the country which opens up doors for all Lebanese citizens. The president was speaking during the opening ceremony of the Developmental Services Center of Haoush Al-Omaraa in Zahle.
Hrawi also praised the recent step of laying the foundation stone for a new Lebanese University Campus in Haddath.
More congratulatory messages on the occasion of the National Day of the Lebanese Army were dedicated today to Army Leader General Emile Lahhoud. In the order of the day released by the defense ministry to mark the day, which falls tomorrow, Lahhoud stressed the necessity of unconditional Israeli withdrawal from South Lebanon reiterating the refusal of any security guarantees to be granted to the enemy. He added the Lebanese army will not play the role of a frontier guard to the Israeli occupation. Lahhoud also acknowledged the improvements to the army recorded since the end of the civil war.
On the eve of this national day, preparations in different Lebanese areas were highly evident. Banners were raised in praise of the army and its efforts to safeguard the country's security and national stability.
Syrian Defense Minister First General Mustafa Tlas today expressed deep appreciation for the honorable stance taken by the Lebanese Army in preservation of national security and stability. Tlas sent his best wishes of success to the army represented by General Emile Lahhoud. He also hoped every member in the army will succeed in carrying out his national duties. General Tlas added the Lebanese resistance in South Lebanon should be always supported by all the Arabs and the International community stressing its right to resist the occupation in order to liberate the land.
Former Prime Minister Saleem Al-Hoss today voiced confidence in the Lebanese Army's Institution. He also praised the joint cooperative stance taken by the army and the Lebanese resistance in the face of Israeli occupation.
For his part, the head of the parliamentary media and communication committee Deputy Abdel Latif AL-Zein congratulated the army on the eve of its national day hoping all Israeli occupied territories be liberated.
Deputy Marwan Hmadeh praised the role played by Army Leader Emile Lahhoud and the accomplishments scored in the army's institution since the year 1990. He also stressed the importance of the army's unity.
Israeli shells this morning fell on the outskirts of the Southern villages of Froun, Ghandourieh, Wadi Al-Hojeir, Eastern Zawtar, Kfra and Yater. The shelling was accompanied by over-flights of Israeli warplanes. Fires also blazed in a number of olive fields in these areas as a resulting of Israeli bombardment.
For its part, the Amal Movement announced its members launched attacks this morning on a number of Israeli and Israeli allied militia outposts in Salaa and Qantara in the Central Sector and the position of Blat in the Western Sector of the occupied zone. Amal sources said direct hits were scored in the attacks.
One Israeli soldier was killed and six others injured during a resistance operation carried out last night on the Rayhan Israeli outpost in Iqlim Al-Touffah. This brings to nine the number of Israeli soldiers killed and to 69 the number of those wounded in South Lebanon since the beginning of the year. Hizbullah guerrillas fought with Israeli troops and their allied militia in the position for more than an hour. Three other resistance units simultaneously attacked the outpost. Guerrillas later detonated a roadside bomb near an Israeli unit attempting at reinforcement.
The United Nations Security Council yesterday extended the mandate of UN troops in Lebanon serving under the UN Interim Forces in the South. Their mandate was prolonged for another six months expiring on the coming January 31st. The council, which reached the decision yesterday, reiterated its support for Lebanon's security, political independence, and sovereignty over all its territories. The statement of the body also called on all concerned parties to cooperate with UNIFIL in order to help its troops fulfill the requirements of their mandate. The Security Council also condemned all acts of violence that are being carried out in the South especially against UN troops there. The statement further stressed the necessity of the unconditional implementation of UN Resolution 425.
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