Lebanon tells Israel its border wall violates sovereignty

BEIRUT (Reuters) - Lebanon said a wall Israel intends to build at the border marks a violation of Lebanese sovereignty during a meeting of Lebanese and Israeli military officers chaired by U.N. peacekeepers on Monday.

Disagreement over the wall and Lebanon's plans to explore for offshore oil and gas in disputed maritime waters have elevated tensions between Israel and Lebanon, which is home to the powerful Iran-backed Shi'ite group Hezbollah.

The Israeli army has previously said the construction work is being done on sovereign Israeli territory.

The Lebanese government says the wall passes through territory that belongs to Lebanon but which is located on the Israeli side of the U.N.-designated Blue Line, which demarcated Israel's withdrawal from southern Lebanon in 2000.

The Israeli defence minister, addressing the dispute last week, accused Hezbollah of provocations, saying Israel had withdrawn to the recognised international border with Lebanon and was being challenged over a barrier in Israeli territory.

The sides met under the supervision of the U.N. peacekeeping force UNIFIL in their regular tripartite meeting at U.N. positions in the Ras al-Naqoura border area.

"The Lebanese side reviewed the matter of the wall which the Israeli enemy intends to build ... confirming the position of the Lebanese government rejecting the construction of this wall as it violates Lebanese sovereignty," the Lebanese army said in a statement after Monday's meeting.

Hezbollah and Israel last fought a....

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