|Israel to lift air and sea blockade on Lebanon
[ 2006-09-07 09:08 ]
|Israel says it will lift its blockade of Lebanon's air
and seaports on Thursday. It is a boost to the fragile ceasefire between
Israel and the Islamic militant group Hezbollah.
The Israeli prime minister's office announced the lifting of the air and sea blockade , which
was imposed at the beginning of the Lebanon war eight weeks ago. The aim
of the blockade was to prevent the shipment of weapons to Hezbollah, which
fired nearly 4,000 rockets at northern Israel during the 34-day conflict.
Israel will withdraw from positions at Lebanese sea and airports, and
international forces will move in. Italian, French, British and Greek
troops will participate in the mission, and German forces are expected to
arrive in about two weeks.
Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev says their mandate is clear.
"To cut off supply lines, to make sure that there is an international
arms embargo on Hezbollah, making sure that that organization cannot
re-arm and re-group," he said. "Ultimately, the international community is
committed to disarming Hezbollah."
Regev says that means dealing with the suppliers.
"The most dangerous support for Hezbollah comes from Iran and from
Syria, those lorries after lorries bringing missiles and rockets and
explosives for the terrorist movement," he said.
The blockade crippled Lebanon economically, and lifting it will help
the devastated country to begin rebuilding. It is a diplomatic
breakthrough, showing that Lebanon and Israel can cooperate through
international mediation. And it is seen as a sign that the three-week-old
ceasefire is solidifying.
lift air and sea blockade :