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Fighting Continues Along Israeli-Lebanese Border

Aired April 7, 2002 - 17:05   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: The fighting continues on another front, outside the West Bank. It's happening along the Lebanese border, and it's causing concern for Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. For the latest, we go to CNN Beirut bureau chief, Brent Sadler.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BRENT SADLER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): There is now grave concern about escalation along the Israeli-Lebanese border of military action involving Hezbollah guerrillas and the Israeli defense forces. Today, there have been report that the guerrillas have used for the first time shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles aiming at Israeli jets on their bombing runs against suspended Hezbollah guerrilla targets in south Lebanon. The kind of shoulder-fire missiles they've been using are effective normally against helicopters, but not jets, the tactic we haven't seen here.

Also, we've had two situations whereby Hezbollah has attacked Israeli military positions in the Shebaa Farms, at the foot hills of the Golan Heights, this in the context, they say, of resistance against Israeli-occupied land. But also, they've been other attacks described by rogue Palestinian element among official sources here against other situations -- rather, other locations along the border. It is getting very confused day-by-day, as we've seen, according to the United Nations, quote, "10 days of continuous serious violations of the blue line."

Now, the blue line was established almost two years ago. It demarks the situation between the Lebanese and the Israeli side of the border, after Israeli occupation troops withdrew from south Lebanon back in May of 2000. But violations of the blue line continue not just from the Lebanese side but also from the Israeli side. Since May of 2000, Israel has continued to violate Lebanese aerospace and continued to violate Lebanese territorial waters.

So there has been more or less of past two years Hezbollah attacks every few months or so, but now it's gone into a different phase with these daily attacks, using mortars, rockets, machine gun fire, now in more than one location. Israel is reporting six of its soldiers, including four women, have been injured in the latest attack. There are also reports from the U.N. that five children were injured Saturday after fire into the village of Gaja (ph), which is a divided Arab village, split by that blue line. Now, the United Nations special representative here, Stefan Demistura (ph), is expressing really deep concern about what might happen next and has this to say to the Lebanese authorities.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We urge the Lebanese authorities to prove with facts immediately what does this mean to actually contain the situation and avoid the blue line becomes a hot line.

SADLER: While the Lebanese have picked up a number of Palestinians over the past few days and captured one rocket launcher, in an attempt, they say, to defuse the escalating situation. But to quote Stefan Demistura (ph), again: "We're in a very dangerous moment at a very tense time."

Brent Sadler, CNN, Beirut.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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