Fla. Congressman: Investigate Aid to Lebanese Army

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WASHINGTON - In the wake of last week's attack on a routine IDF border patrol by Lebanese forces, Rep. Ron Klein, D-Fla., has called for a reassessment of U.S. aid to Lebanon's military.

In a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Cinton, Klein, a member of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, requested an investigation of last week's clashes at Israel's northern border.

A Lebanese Army sniper killed an Israel Defense Forces commander and injured two other officers, one critically.

Three Lebanese soldiers and a journalist were killed when the IDF returned fire.

"I would like to formally and respectfully request an investigation into the incident on the Lebanese-Israeli border," Klein wrote.

"In addition, if the Lebanese government had authorized this attack, I would be very concerned about continuing to provide military support to Lebanon," the congressman wrote.

According to State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley, the U.S. designated $600 million of its aid package to the Lebanese army.

The U.S. aids Lebanon "because it is in our interest to do so," Crowley told reporters on Thursday.

"In any U.S.-origin equipment that has been provided to Lebanon, we have very strong end-use monitoring to make sure it is used appropriately," Crowley said.

Following last week's ambush, the Israeli Foreign Ministry issued a statement.

"Israel views the firing from Lebanon on an Israel Defense Forces patrol, which was operating along the Lebanese border in coordination with UNIFIL [U.N. peacekeeping forces] as a severe violation of Resolution 1701," the statement read.

Resolution 1701 accompanied the U.N.-brokered ceasefire that ended the Second Lebanon War between Israel and Hezbollah in the summer of 2006.

"This recent violation is one of many violations of Resolution 1701, the most severe of which is the massive rearmament of Hezbollah, including the rearmament of Hezbollah units in southern Lebanon," the statement read.

"Israel holds the Lebanese government responsible for the grave incident and warns of the consequences should these continue," the Foreign Ministry stated.

The Jerusalem Post contributed to this report.

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