Israeli jets buzz Lebanon
Fighter jets from Israel's air force have been flying deep into Lebanese airspace for the second day running. Air patrols over the border region have been common since Israel's withdrawal from south Lebanon in 2000 but these planes flew as far as the Bekaa valley, where Syrian troops and Hezbollah guerrillas are based in strength.
Ooooh, feeling a little fiesty, are they?
On Thursday night, planes sparked panic in Sidon when they carried out mock "dive-bombing" over the southern port city and flew over nearby refugee camps at low altitude, Lebanese police said.
"Jest a little practice, don't mean a thing."
Puppet Government has accused Israel of seeking to increase tension in the region with the flights. "Through this tension [Israel] is trying to play a role in the Iraqi crisis," Lebanese Defence Minister Khalil Hrawi said on state radio.
Golly gosh, Mr. Hrawi, how could Lebanon and Iraq be connected?
"It seeks to be present on the Middle East arena through its military power."
Snort. You could say that the Israelis have been present in the Middle East with their military power. In fact that's how they've remained alive long enough to have a presence.
There have been no reports of anti-aircraft fire in response to Friday's airspace violations, in which planes flew over the eastern city of Baalbek, 100 kilometres (60 miles) north-east of Beirut.
Discretion being the better part of valor, all the better to avoid a wild-weasel shot.
On Thursday, Lebanese anti-aircraft gunners in Sidon opened fire at the Israeli planes and were joined by Palestinian fighters with automatic weapons in the Ein el-Hilweh refugee camp on the city's outskirts.
Were they aiming at the aircraft or was it just group gun sex?
The planes spent about an hour in the area, also buzzing the Miyeh Miyeh refugee camp. Flights were also recorded over Tyre and Nabatiyeh.
That's a lot of flights. Wonder if they were just practicing how to bomb Hezbollah camps?
A spokesman for the United Nations Interim Forces in Lebanon, Timour Goksel, said the Israeli overflights created "unnecessary escalation and tension in the area".
Not near as much as all those Hezbollah camps directly below the overflying airplanes.
The UN has regularly criticised Israel for violating Lebanese airspace.
They have as much credibility on this issue as they do on 1441.
Posted by: Steve White 2003-02-01