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Lebanon threatens to shoot down Israeli aircraft

The Defense Minister of Lebanon, Elias Murr, threatened to shoot down aircraft violating Lebanese airspace. Reports say his soldiers already have orders to shoot any Israeli aircraft in Lebanese airspace.

Who does he think he's fooling? Lebanon doesn't have the military capability to deal with terrorists in Lebanon, much less one of the most advanced armies in the world. Furthermore, if Lebanon were to shoot down an Israeli plane it would be a pretext for further conflict. That's something Lebanon can't afford.

The Otter doubts these reports. They appear to be typical Arab propaganda. Elias Murr said that the military has orders to shoot down Israeli aircraft to appear strong. It's important for Lebanon that he appears able to keep the ceasefire and combat Hezbollah. So it isn't propaganda geared at Israel, but propaganda geared at the international community, the Arab world, and Hezbollah. YNet, Lebanon: We'll shoot down Israeli planes:
Elias Murr emphasizes that Lebanese army has clear orders to shoot any Israeli plane that enters Lebanon; also reports on deployment of divisions along Syrian border to prevent smuggling.

Lebanon's Defense Minister Elias Murr said that four divisions of the Lebanese Army have been deployed along the Syrian-Lebanese border and have been able to halt the smuggling of arms to Hizbullah. In an interview with the London-based al-Hayat Arabic-language newspaper Murr said that "the Lebanese army has been deployed along the border (with Syria), on the mountains and in the valleys. "I am emphasizing that there are 8,600 soldiers, which are more than four divisions deployed in the area. There has not been any instance of a violation, even smuggling of oil, cigarettes, and other products from Lebanon to Syria and vice-versa."

When asked about Lebanon's planned reaction to a possible Israeli border violation, he said that there are clear orders to open fire on Israeli Air Force aircraft that fly in Lebanese airspace. "After the withdrawal of the Israeli enemy, there are two types of violations: those which violate the "blue line" which we will set in coordination with the UN next week once Israel returns to the outposts they have been maintaining since 2000, and violations which happen from the air. There are clear orders from the army command to fire at any plane which enters Lebanese airspace. As to the political realm – we are sending complaints to the UN on a daily basis about these violations."

Murr expressed his hopes that "these violations will end soon, and if not, the Lebanese army will stand up to them with all of the necessary measures in preparations for the next few months when we will receive new missiles against aircraft, ships, and land forces."

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