Defense Minister Amir Peretz said that the Israel Defense Forces’s commando operation in Baalbeck in Lebanon over the weekend does not deviate from the ceasefire agreement and that “the raid was necessary and was designed to prevent the rearmament of Hizballah.”
Officials in the Prime Minister’s office have also rejected the Lebanese government’s claim that the raid constitutes a violation of the agreement. The officials said that the action was defensive and what constitutes a violation of the ceasefire was the Lebanese government’s decision not to stop the shipment of arms from Syria to the Hizballah. “The IDF has to do it because the Lebanese are not,” the officials said.
In addition to the Israeli efforts to stop arms shipments, Turkey has intercepted two Iranian aircraft and forced them to land in an airfield in southeastern Turkey for inspection to ensure they were not carrying weapons to Hizballah in Lebanon. The inspections did not find any such weapons.
The information about the two planes was given to Turkey by Israeli intelligence, who are continuously briefing the Turkish leadership about the situation. Israeli intelligence officials have also visited Turkey in secret, and showed Turkish officials evidence that Iran has been smuggling long range rockets into Lebanon through Turkey, both by land and by air. Israel asked the Turks to help enforce the arms embargo on Hizballah as it is written in UN Resolution 1701.
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