Five Israeli military aircraft have penetrated Lebanese airspace and flown over several areas of the country in blatant violation of a UN Security Council resolution.
Two Israeli fighter jets crossed into Lebanon's airspace over the southern village of Aitaroun at 9:00 a.m. local time (0600 GMT) on Friday, according to a statement issued by the Lebanese military. The warplanes flew over several areas in Lebanon before leaving the country’s airspace at 10:35 a.m. local time (0735 GMT) while flying over the town of Alma al-Shaab. On Thursday, three Israeli unmanned aerial vehicles crossed into Lebanon's airspace at 7:25 a.m. local time (0425 GMT). The planes carried out surveillance flights over the Western Bekaa region and several areas in southern Lebanon, and left at 6:25 a.m. local time (0325 GMT) on Friday. Lebanese President Michel Sleiman has denounced Israel’s recent use of Lebanon’s airspace to carry out an act of aggression against Syria. “Sleiman strongly condemned Israel’s aggression on Syrian sites [which it carried out] by violating Lebanese airspace to carry out these attacks which killed a number of civilians,” a statement released by Lebanon’s presidential office on May 5 read. It added, “This act is not unusual for a mutual enemy [such as Israel] whose policy is based on aggression that takes advantage of the circumstances Syria is going through to carry out its aggression, just as it used to do in Lebanon during its days of crisis.” On May 5, Syria said the Israeli regime had carried out an airstrike targeting a research center in a suburb of Damascus, following heavy losses of al-Qaeda-affiliated groups at the hands of the Syrian army. According to Syrian media reports, Israeli rockets struck the Jamraya Research Center. Shortly after the airstrike, the Syrian Foreign Ministry sent letters to the United Nations and the UN Security Council stating that Israel’s aggression shows the links between Tel Aviv and terrorist groups operating in Syria, including the al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front. On the same day, Syrian Information Minister Omran al-Zohbi told reporters in Damascus that Syria has the right and the duty to defend its people by all available means and would not give in to Israeli acts of aggression. The Israeli attacks on Syria have made the Middle East more dangerous, the Syrian information minister added. Israel violates Lebanon's airspace on an almost daily basis, claiming the flights serve surveillance purposes. Lebanon's government, the Hezbollah resistance movement, and the UN Interim Force in Lebanon, known as UNIFIL, have repeatedly condemned the overflights, saying they are in clear violation of UN Resolution 1701 and the country's sovereignty. UN Security Council Resolution 1701, which brokered a ceasefire in the war of aggression Israel launched against Lebanon in 2006, calls on Israel to respect Lebanon's sovereignty and territorial integrity. In 2009, Lebanon filed a complaint with the United Nations, presenting over 7,000 documents pertaining to Israeli violations of Lebanese territory.