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UN Accuses Israel Of Excessive Force

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (file photo)
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has accused Israeli soldiers of using excessive force by firing live ammunition at unarmed Lebanese demonstrators.

The Lebanese armed forces said seven people were killed and 111 injured by Israeli troops when the protesters tried to breach a border fence on May 15. The protest came on the anniversary of the 1948 founding of Israel, an event the Palestinians call the "Nakba," or catastrophe.

Ban said a preliminary report by the UN peacekeeping mission in Lebanon also accused the demonstrators who threw stones and gasoline bombs of carrying out "a provocative and violent act."

Israel, however, blamed Lebanon for failing to stop the protesters from getting near the border fence and the Blue Line, the UN-drawn boundary between Israel and Lebanon.

In Israel, media reports have emerged that the government has canceled a visit and cut ties with UN special coordinator for Lebanon Michael Williams in response to the report.

A UN spokeswoman said the secretary-general was aware of the Israeli media reports, but offered no further comment.

compiled from agency reports

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