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Israel Still Holding Lebanese Village

October 03, 2006|From the Associated Press

MARWAHEEN, Lebanon — Israel's troops kept hold of a Lebanese border village and its aircraft prowled the Lebanese skies Monday, prompting the government in Beirut and Hezbollah militants to contend that the Israeli withdrawal was incomplete.

The United Nations described Israel's pullout from nearly all of southern Lebanon on Sunday as "significant progress," but both the Lebanese government and Hezbollah demanded a halt to what they labeled violations of Lebanon's air, sea and land. Israel and Hezbollah battled for more than a month this summer.

Senior Hezbollah official Sheik Hassan Ezzeddine warned that the Islamic militant group would resume attacks on Israel if Israel breached a U.N. cease-fire, which took effect Aug. 14.

The Israeli army remained in the village of Ghajar, said a statement by the commander of the U.N. Interim Force in Lebanon, or UNIFIL.

UNIFIL spokesman Alexander Ivanko, speaking on Lebanon's privately owned Christian TV station LBC, said a deal on Ghajar was expected next week.

Israel has been gradually withdrawing troops, which numbered 30,000 during the fighting.

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