Talk about border tensions: Israeli soldiers went out to trim a tree along its northern border with Lebanon and came under sniper fire from Lebanese soldiers. The IDF responded with tank and artillery fire, the Lebanese soldiers shot back with small arms including RPGs.
So far, the toll stands at one Israeli light-colonel, a battalion commander, three Lebanese soldiers and a Lebanese journalist killed; reports say an Israeli captain and five Lebanese wounded. UNIFIL peacekeepers have urged both armies to exercise “maximum restraint,” which seems unlikely at this point.
Already, Syrian President Bashar Assad said his country will stand by Lebanon in the face of Israeli “criminal aggression.” Some reports say the Lebanese casualties resulted from an Israeli helicopter firing missiles at an armored personnel carrier.
In a number of online conversations, people are wondering why an Israeli Lt. Col. and Captain were trimming trees along the Lebanese border.
-- Greg Grant