Israel: Lebanon Violating U.N. Res. 1701

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JERUSALEM, Israel - Following Tuesday's explosion at a Hezbollah weapons warehouse in southern Lebanon, Israeli officials accused Lebanon of violating the terms of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1701.

Resolution 1701 was issued with the U.N.-brokered cease-fire at the end of the Second Lebanon War in the summer of 2006. It prohibits armed militias, including Hezbollah, from operating south of the Litani River.

The massive blast occurred in the village of Khirbet Silim about 12 miles north of the border, in an abandoned building, according to a statement by the Lebanese army.

Following the explosion, the army sealed off the area, barring journalists from the scene, and began a joint investigation of the incident with UNIFIL (U.N. peacekeeping forces), Lebanese media reported.

Israeli officials refuted Lebanese media reports that the weapons cache had been placed in the building prior to the Second Lebanon War, saying that Hezbollah recently converted the abandoned building to a weapons storehouse.

"This is a major violation of Resolution 1701," one Israeli defense official said. "The weaponry was stored inside a village and is proof of our longstanding claim that Hezbollah uses civilian infrastructure to hide its weaponry," he said.

The weapons storehouse contained dozens of 122mm Katyusha rockets, automatic rifles and ammunition, according to Israeli security sources.

Sources: Ynet news, The Jerusalem Post

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