Ceasefire holds despite rockets

A dozen rockets have been fired at positions held by Israeli soldiers in south Lebanon, an Israeli army spokesman says.

Ceasefire holds despite rockets

The spokesman said that Israeli soldiers did not return fire.

He said the rockets, fired in the early hours of Tuesday morning, were the first since the ceasefire went into effect at 8am (0500 GMT) on Monday.

The rocket attacks caused neither casualties nor damage, the spokesman said.

Hezbollah rejected as "baseless" Israeli army claims on Monday that at least four armed Hezbollah fighters were killed following the ceasefire after trying to approach Israeli troops.

"Islamic Resistance [the armed wing of Hezbollah] has not had any martyrs since the entry into force of the ceasefire at 8am" on Monday, it said in a statement issued in Beirut on Tuesday.

Despite accepting the resolution, Hezbollah has vowed to keep on fighting until the last Israeli soldier leaves Lebanon and Ehud Olmert, the Israeli prime minister, promised to hunt down the group's leaders.

Israeli dissent

Meanwhile, Olmert took full responsibility for the conduct of the battle with Hezbollah, as Israel's wartime unity collapsed and opposition politicians began criticising the month-long fight against Hezbollah.

Opposition politicians demanded a commission of inquiry into the conduct of the battle as a new poll showed support for Olmert and his centrist Kadima party had plummeted.

In a nationally televised speech to parliament hours after a ceasefire took effect in Lebanon, Olmert painted the war and the UN resolution that ended the fighting as an important victory for Israel that changed the strategic balance in the region and badly weakened Hezbollah.

Olmert said: "[Israeli] soldiers have, to an extent not yet publicly disclosed, battered this murderous organisation, its military and organisational infrastructure, its long-term capabilities, its huge arsenal, which it built over many years, and also the self-confidence of its members and leaders."

Hezbollah said 68 of its fighters were killed in battle since the fighting began on July 12, but Israel said its forces killed 530 fighters.

Donors to meet

Sweden invited 60 countries and aid agencies to a donors' conference aimed at helping Lebanon rebuild homes, roads and lives shattered by weeks of fighting between Israel and Hezbollah fighters.

Big donor nations such as the United States, France, Britain, Germany, Norway and Japan as well as the Gulf states were among those invited to the August 31 conference in Stockholm, Swedish aid minister Carin Jamtin said on Monday.

She declined to place a figure on how much aid was needed, saying that was up to Lebanon to determine.

Peacekeeping force

Also on Monday, the French general who leads the UN peacekeeping force in
Lebanon said he wants reinforcements quickly, warning that even one "stray act" could unravel a diplomatic effort to halt the fighting between Israel and Hezbollah.

Alain Pellegrini said the UN resolution could give unprecedented new strength to the 28-year-old UNIFIL force - which has often been criticised as ineffective in the past.

Pellegrini said: "They need to arrive as quickly as possible."

The UN plan calls for a joint Lebanese-international force to move south of the Litani river, about 30km from the Israeli border, and act as a buffer between Israel and Hezbollah fighters.





Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16