Last updated: 19 December, 2011

Lebanon army uncovers rockets near Israel border

The Lebanese army on Monday said it had uncovered four Grad rockets in an olive grove near the volatile border with Israel.

The rockets, each hidden inside disused plastic water pipes placed under a thin layer of dirt, were found by a farmer on the outskirts of the southeastern border village of Majidiyeh, near the disputed Shebaa Farms.

The farmer alerted authorities after stumbling on the weapons, officials said.

“An army patrol found four Grad rockets hidden under dirt in the region of Hasbaya,” the military said in a statement, adding that a probe was under way to determine the origin of the weapons.

The discovery comes amid high tension in southern Lebanon following a number of security incidents in recent weeks, including a rocket attack on Israel and a roadside bombing that wounded five French soldiers serving with the UN peacekeeping force.

Israel on Monday denounced the presence of weapons in the region, saying it contradicts UN Security Council resolution 1701, which put an end to its devastating war in 2006 with the militant group Hezbollah.

“The Israel Defence Forces views the Lebanon government and the Lebanese armed forces as responsible for implementing this resolution and for preventing any hostile activity against Israel from Lebanon,” an army spokesman said.

The Shebaa Farms, a mountainous sliver of land rich in water resources, is located at the junction of southeast Lebanon, southwest Syria and northern Israel.

The area has been occupied by Israel since the 1967 Middle East war and caught in a tug-of-war over ownership ever since.