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Israeli Warplanes Roar Over Lebanon
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08/21/2006 06:45 AM
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Israeli Warplanes Roar Over Lebanon
POSTED: 6:35 am EDT August 21, 2006
UPDATED: 6:35 am EDT August 21, 2006
BEIRUT, Lebanon -- Israeli warplanes roared over Lebanon's northern Mediterranean coast and along its border with Syria on Monday, after the Lebanese defense minister warned rogue Palestinian rocket teams against attacking Israel and provoking retaliation that could unravel an already shaky cease-fire.
With concern mounting over the fragile truce, Israel sent war planes Monday over the coastal city of Tripoli, some 35 miles north of Beirut, and over Baalbek, scene of an Israeli commando raid two days ago which Israel said was to disrupt weapons shipments for Hezbollah from Syria.
Lebanon considers overflights a violation of the U.N. resolution that ended 34 days of fighting last week.
Defense Minister Elias Murr said he was confident that Hezbollah would hold its fire but warned Syrian-backed Palestinian militants against rocket attacks which might draw Israeli retaliation and re-ignite full-scale fighting.
"We consider that when the resistance (Hezbollah) is committed not to fire rockets, then any rocket that is fired from the Lebanese territory would be considered collaboration with Israel to provide a pretext (for Israel) to strike," he said Sunday.
Arab League foreign ministers convened for an emergency meeting in Cairo to discuss a plan to create a fund to rebuild Lebanon. The meeting ended with no plan, but foreign ministers said a social and economic council would convene to discuss how to fund the rebuilding.
Diplomats said Arabs want to counter the flood of money that is believed to be coming from Iran to Hezbollah to finance reconstruction projects. An estimated 15,000 apartments were destroyed and 140 bridges hit by Israeli bombardment in Lebanon, along with power and desalination plants and other key infrastructure.
"This is a war over the hearts and mind of the Lebanese, which Arabs should not lose to the Iranians this time," said a senior Arab League official, speaking on condition of because he is not authorized to talk to the media.
Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah has not said where the money would come from, but Iran, which helped create Hezbollah and is its strongest supporter, is widely believed to have opened its treasury for the rebuilding program.
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