Israel accused of attacking German ship in Lebanon

Germany and Israel are at odds over an incident involving attack on a German naval vessel patrolling the Lebanon coast as part of an international peacekeeping force, reported Reuters.

While German Defence Ministry spokesman Thomas Raabe says that six Israeli F-16 jets had flown very low over the German vessel Tuesday morning, indirectly accusing Israel of carrying out the attack on the German vessel, Israel denies that its air force planes attacked the German navy ship.

Germany’s Defence Ministry confirmed that the incident did occur, but didn’t accuse Israel directly of carrying out the attack.

German daily Der Tagesspiegel reported that two German junior defence minister told a parliamentary committee that Israeli F-16 fighters had flown low over the ship, firing twice and activating infra-red countermeasures to foil rocket attacks.

A German helicopter took off from a German vessel near the Israel-Lebanon border without having coordinated this with Israel, which prompted Israel send fighter jets into the air which later forced the helicopter return to the vessel and land back onto it, Israeli army spokeswoman claimed.

The incident took place off Israel’s coast, just south of the border with Lebanon, the spokeswoman told Deutsche Presse-Agentur.

The German vessels is part of a United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) which is monitoring August 14 ceasefire that put an end to Israel’s month-long war in Lebanon against Hezbollah.UN Security Council Resolution that ended the 33-day war in Lebanon states that the UN naval force is also responsible for monitoring arms transfer to Hezbollah fighters through the coast of Lebanon.
UNIFIL has repeatedly warned Israel to stop its overflights over Lebanon as they endanger the UN mission deployed in the area. But Israel insists on ignoring the UNFIL calls, arguing that overflights are needed to monitor arms transfers to Hezbollah.

It increased its overflights over the country in recent days instead of halting them, and staged several mock raids over southern Lebanon and Beirut.

Germany, which commands the United Nations naval Interim Force (UNIFIL), has deployed eight ships and 1,000 military personnel in the area to monitor the UN-brokered ceasefire as well as arms smuggling.

Israel’s recent offensive in Lebanon killed over 1,400 innocent civilians and inflicted enormous damage to the country’s infrastructure.

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