Major General, Alain Pellegrini, head of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), stated on Friday afternoon that Israeli had lifted the sea blockade over Lebanon. The Israeli government did not confirm.
Israeli government spokeswoman, Miri Eisin, said that she does not have
any direct confirmation but stated that the final order had been given
to the Israeli army to end the embargo, Israeli online daily Haaretz
The Lebanese government was informed by the United Nations that a
UNIFIL naval force already began patrolling the Lebanese coastline on
Friday at 12:30.
The force is composed of French, Italian and Greek navy troops.
Israel says Lebanon naval blockade to end within hours
Saed Bannour – IMEMC & Agencie, 15:42
Israeli government spokeswoman, Miri Eisin, said on Friday afternoon
that Israel will end its naval blockade over Lebanon within hours.
Meanwhile in Lebanon, a Lebanese Government official said that the
United Nations has officially informed Lebanon that a joint French,
Italian and Greek naval forces already started patrolling the coastline
at 12:30 on Friday.
The Israeli Prime Minister's office reported earlier Friday that Israeli is coordinating the handover of control of the coast to the UN forces.
The office denied reports that the Naval blockade over Lebanon had been lifted by midday.
A senior source at the Lebanese government said on Friday that the blockade was lifted after the UN force controlled the coast at 12:30, Israel said that the blockade is still in force.
Also, Israel said that coordinations are taking place with the French Major-General Alain Pellegrini, but the blockade is still in effect.
Essin said that the coordination has not been completed yet. The Israeli aerial blockade over Lebanon was lifted at 18:00 on Thursday.
Naval siege on Lebanon remains until international force takes over, air blockade removed
Saed Bannour – IMEMC & Agencie, 13:12
Israel has declared that it lifted its two-month long air blockade that
it placed on Lebanon, but the naval blockade will remain in place until
the arrival of the international forces, Israeli sources reported on
Miri Eisin, spokeswoman of the Israeli Prime Minister, said that the areal blockade was removed in cooperation with the United Nations.
She added that Israeli officials are holding talks with the United Nations in order to “resolve logistic issues” before the naval blockade is removed.
Israeli officials said that the expect the issue to be resolves within 48 hours and that the time table is totally reliable on the UN.
The UN peacekeeping force is responsible for keeping arms shipments from reaching Hezbollah fighters in southern Lebanon.
The Lebanese Naharnet online daily reported that a Middle East Airlines flight circled downtown Beirut three times, in a ceremonial show, at 6:04 p.m, on Thursday after the embargo was over. The flight was coming from Paris and landed at Rafiq Al Hariri Airport.
Lebanese transportation Minister, Mohammed Safadi, told Agence France Presse that “this flight is the first sign that the Lebanese are recovering their freedom. They will be able to regain the freedom of movement of people and goods, which is indispensable if Lebanon is to live”.
Meanwhile, Lebanese legislators ended their open-ended sit-in protest against the eight-week older blockade imposed by Israel shortly after Israel announced lifting it.
The blockade hampered the efforts to rebuild Lebanon after the 34-day war and threatened to cause the collapse of a UN-cease fire agreement.
The destruction caused by Israeli shelling to infrastructure in Lebanon is estimated have the cost of $3.5 billion, while the blockade, according to Lebanon's Finance Minister Jihad Azour, had increased the public dept to $41 billion, domestic product losses is estimated by $18 billion.
After Hezbollah fighters abducted two Israeli soldiers near the Lebanese-Israeli borders on July 12, Israel launched its war against Lebanon despite objections from army officials and the families of the two soldiers.