U.N. protests Israeli military flights over Lebanon

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The United Nations has called on Israel to halt increased military air patrols over Lebanon amid heightened tensions after air raids on targets in Syria, a U.N. spokesman said Tuesday.

U.N. spokesman Martin Nesirky said that the U.N. Interim Force in Lebanon, UNIFIL, had protested after recording a surge in Israeli flights over Lebanon.

UNIFIL “says that in the course of the past week it has observed a higher number of Israeli air violations over Lebanese airspace,” Nesirky told a briefing.

He added that the overflights are a “violation of Lebanese sovereignty and of Security Council resolution 1701,” which allowed for a ceasefire that ended Israel’s military incursion into southern Lebanon in 2006.

“We are aware of the concerns raised by the Lebanese government in this regard. The U.N. interim force has lodged firm protests with the Israeli Defense Force on this matter asking them to cease the overflights,” Nesirky said.

The two pre-dawn air raids in Syria by Israeli warplanes on Friday and Sunday destroyed missiles apparently destined for the Lebanese militia Hezbollah. The attacks have sparked fears that the Shiite movement could hit back.

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