Lebanon to file UN complaint after Israeli overflights

Sunday 2 Jun 2013

Lebanon says it will file complaint with UN over Israel's persistent violations of its airspace

Lebanon's President Michel Sleiman on Sunday instructed the country's foreign minister to file a complaint with the United Nations over Israeli violations of Lebanese airspace.

The president's office announced the order in a statement after Israeli warplanes could be heard flying over several parts of the country on Sunday morning.

"President Michel Sleiman tasked Foreign Minister Adnan Mansur with filing an urgent complaint to the United Nations about Israel's persistent airspace violations, including over all of Lebanon this morning, including the capital Beirut," a statement said.

AFP correspondents throughout the country reported unusually low and loud Israeli overflights on Sunday morning, including in Beirut.

Israeli warplanes regularly violate Lebanese airspace and have launched several attacks against Syrian targets in recent months, some reportedly carried out from over Lebanon.

In May, the UN called on Israel to halt increased military air patrols over Lebanon as tensions soared after two Israeli air attacks on Syria.

UN spokesman Martin Nesirky said then that the UN Interim Force in Lebanon, UNIFIL, had protested after recording a surge in Israeli flights over Lebanon.

He told a briefing the overflights are a "violation of Lebanese sovereignty and of Security Council resolution 1701" which allowed for a ceasefire that ended Israel's military incursion into southern Lebanon in 2006.

Israel fought a devastating war against the Lebanese Shiite movement Hezbollah in the summer of 2006.

Hezbollah forces are currently battling alongside troops loyal to Syrian President Bahar al-Assad against rebels in the key town of Qusayr near the border with Lebanon.

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