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Lebanon urges U.N. to condemn sovereignty violation by Israel

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Lebanon has called on the U.N. Security Council to condemn violations of its airspace by Israel, which carried out raids in Syria to target what it said were Iranian missiles bound for Hezbollah militants.

Lebanon urged the 15-member council to "compel Israel to halt its violations of Lebanon's sovereignty by air, sea and land, and carry out all its obligations in accordance with resolution 1701," according to a letter obtained by Reuters on Monday.

U.N. Security Council Resolution 1701 halted the 2006 Israel-Hezbollah war in southern Lebanon, which remains a Hezbollah stronghold. Lebanon regularly accuses Israel of violating its airspace.

"The Israeli Air Force continues to violate Lebanese airspace and in the previous days intensified its circuits above Lebanon. This constitutes a disgraceful violation of (Lebanon's) sovereignty," Lebanon wrote to the Security Council.

Intelligence sources said Israel attacked Iranian-supplied missiles stored near the Syrian capital of Damascus on Friday and Sunday as they awaited transport to Hezbollah, an ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Israel is reluctant to take sides in Syria's two-year-old civil war for fear its actions would boost Islamists who are even more hostile to it than the Assad family, which has maintained a stable standoff with the Jewish state for decades.

The Security Council has been deadlocked on how to end the conflict. Assad's close ally Russia, with the aid of China, has used its veto power to block any condemnations or attempts to sanction the Syrian government.

The United Nations says more than 70,000 people have been killed in the war, which began as peaceful protests against Assad that turned violent when his forces tried to crush the revolt. The violence has become increasingly sectarian.

Five million people have fled their homes, including 1.4 million refugees in nearby countries, the United Nations says.

(Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by Eric Beech)

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/thomson-reuters/130507/lebanon-urges-un-condemn-sovereignty-violation-israel