Israeli jets roar over Beirut

Tuesday, October 31, 2006 |  by Staff Writer  

For the first time since the end of the Lebanon war in August, Israeli Air Force jets roared over the skies of the Dahiya district, the Hizballah stronghold neighborhoods in southern Beirut. No bombs were reported dropped, but the roaring sound of the jets caused some panic among the local residents.

The IDF confirmed that jets had flown over Beirut, but said they were only routine reconnaissance missions.

These flights come amidst pressure from the United Nations and the European Union to stop flyovers inside Lebanese airspace claiming they violate the ceasefire agreement in resolution 1701.

Israel, in reaction, rejected the calls to stop running the missions claiming that Israel will continue flying over Lebanon as long as the arms smuggling into the country and into the hands of Hizballah continues.

As recently as Saturday, Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Siniora and UNIFIL commander Alain Pelligrini met with European Foreign Policy Chief Javier Solana asking him to pressure Israel to stop the flights as they violate the UN ceasefire resolution.

Recently, Israeli Air Force sources have reacted to the calls to stop the flights over Lebanon, and said that the pictures and data which are gathered by those flights are extremely important for the security of Israel and for the prevention of weapons smuggling. The source also said that aerial intelligence gathering over Lebanon before the war had almost dwindled to zero and may have hurt Israel’s preparedness for war.

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