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NEWS & COMMENTARY 2008 SPEAKERS 2007 2006 2005

Friday, September 01, 2006


Beirut, 1 Sept. (AKI) - The military situation in southern Lebanon is still unstable, sources with the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) say. "After the war, the situation has changed but we haven't reached a new stability yet," a UNIFIL source in Naqura, where UNIFIL is based on the border with Israel, told Adnkronos International (AKI) on condition of anonimity. The source said that compared to the period before Israel launched its offensive on Hezbollah on 12 July, the position of the actors involved in the conflict has changed.

"Compared to the period prior to 12 July, the position of actors involved in the conflict has changed," said the source, who has frequently flown by helicopter over the Blue Line, the Israeli-Lebanese border, since the ceasefire began on 14 August. "Hezbollah militants have abandoned all their positions on the border and the areas behind the frontline also appear deserted today."

However, the source said "it is true that it is very hard, almost impossible, to distinguish today a Lebanese civilian from a militant. Before the war, we could see Hezbollah's positions by helicopter and they were wearing plain civilian clothes or uniform. After 14 August, Hezbollah seem to have disappeared from the area."

The source was certain that Hezbollah fighters are hiding "together with their weapons" in galeries and caves and recalled that during the 33 days of the conflict "we could clearly hear the explosions of the Katiusha rockets being launched from the banana plants near our barracks" in Naqoura. The rockets were fired from a mobile position and it was clear that they were often fired by one militant who then fled, the source also said.

Israelis "are still on Lebanese territory...though we can't describe it as occupation as units enter and leave the border, only temporarily remaining in Lebanese areas."

The source also said that "what is impressive is the destruction of villages in southern Lebanon, some of which have been almost completely destroyed."

Finally, the presence of the Lebanese army "is still very scarce and the deploymment of troops since the ceasefire has been very limited and far from the Blue Line."
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