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Ban sounds alarm on rocket firing into Israel from southern Lebanon

11 September 2009 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned today’s firing of at least two rockets into northern Israel from southern Lebanon, urging all parties to exercise maximum restraint.

Preliminary reports note that the rockets were fired from the general area of Qlaileh, in southern Lebanon, and impacted northern Israel in the general area north of Nahariya, according to the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), which is working closely with the Lebanese Armed Forces to investigate the incident.

The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) returned fire with artillery rounds, after which the firing stopped, and there have been no reports of casualties on either side.

In a statement issued by his spokesperson, Mr. Ban said that “the parties must fully adhere to Security Council resolution 1701,” which helped to end the 2006 war between Hizbollah and Israel and calls for the respect for the so-called Blue Line that separates Israeli and Lebanese sides, the disarming of militias and an end to arms smuggling, among other measures.

The Secretary-General and other top UN officials have noted that incidents such as rocket firing pose a serious challenge to the implementation of resolution 1701.

In today’s statement, Mr. Ban also appealed to the sides to “respect the cessation of hostilities agreement.”

In coordination with the Lebanese Armed Forces, UNIFIL has deployed additional troops and reaction force in the area to prevent escalation.

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