Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Militant group claims rocket attack on Israel

Militant group claims rocket attack on Israel
Daily Star staff

BEIRUT: A previously unknown militant group claimed responsibility Monday for a rocket attack a day earlier on northern Israel. A group calling itself the "Jihadi Badr Brigade-Lebanon branch" vowed in a statement faxed to the offices of The Associated Press in Beirut to continue attacks on Israel, saying: "We had promised our people jihad. Here, we again strike the Zionists when a group from the Jihadi Badr Brigades struck the Zionists in the occupied Palestinian territory." Two Katyusha rockets fired from Lebanon landed Sunday in northern Israel, causing damage but no casualties.

The AP said the authenticity of the group's claim could not be immediately confirmed. The special representative of the UN Secretary General in Lebanon, Geir Pedersen, called Sunday's attack "dangerous." "On Sunday, we witnessed a dangerous violation of the Blue Line; the most dangerous since the end of the war last summer, and an attempt to damage Lebanon's security" said Pedersen after a meeting with the secretary general of the Foreign Affairs Ministry, Hisham Dimashkieh. Asked whether missiles fired Sunday were done so by the Palestinians and whether the act had any relation to ongoing fighting between the Lebanese Army and the Fatah al-Islam militant group at the Nahr Al-Bared camp, Pedersen said he would wait for the results of investigations. It was still early to "identify" groups that stand behind the attacks, he said.

Russia also expressed "serious concerns" about the Sunday Katyusha attacks. "Unfortunately, we are extremely worried about what happened in the South Sunday," said Russian Ambassador Sergei Boukine after a meeting with Premier Fouad Siniora at the Grand Serail on Monday. Boukine said his country had contributed to crafting the UN resolution that ended the 2006 war, and "consequently we consider any violation of Resolution 1701 as strictly impermissible." In addition to ending 34 days of hostilities, Resolution 1701 called for the disarmament of militias in Lebanon, including Hizbullah and various Palestinian factions, and the setting up of an arms-free buffer zone south of the Litani River.

Israel said Sunday Hizbullah was not involved in the attack, which it blamed on an unidentified Palestinian organization. - The Daily Star, with AP

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