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Sunday, October 01, 2006

IDF confrontation with UN troops

On Thursday, I reported that the IDF was denying that a confrontation had taken place between IDF and UN troops. This evening, DEBKAfile is insisting that the confrontation did take place, and it even goes so far as to tell us what the confrontation was about.
The south Lebanese village of Merwahin was the stage Thursday, Sept 28 of the first near-showdown between UN and Israeli forces. DEBKAfile publishes here the first photo of an encounter between 4 French Leclerc and at least 5 Israeli Merkava tanks in that Lebanese village.

Despite the photographic evidence, Israel officially denies the incident. DEBKAfile reports the French force sought to prevent the Israeli unit from combing through the Hizballah-dominated village in search of the raiders who crossed into Israel and broke into the IDF’s Kibbutz Shomera arms store last week. They made off with a large quantity of side-arms, anti-tank weapons, LAU rockets and hundreds of combat grenades, which the Israeli force was determined to recover.

American and German correspondents who witnessed the incident report that the two tank units held menacing positions 50 meters apart for about half an hour, after which the French tanks broke off contact and turned tail. The French commander claims the Israel tanks retreated first. DEBKAfile’s military sources note that this was the second incidence of French backing for Hizballah. On Sept 22, French fighter jets were seen cruising in Beirut’s skies above the podium of Hassan Nasrallah’s “victory speech.” He boasted then that he was not afraid to address the masses directly instead of through armored glass.
And Israel is completing its withdrawal from Lebanon tomorrow....


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