BERLIN: Germany said on Sunday its navy, which is patrolling the Lebanese coast as part of an international peacekeeping force, had been involved in a second incident involving Israeli fighter planes.
The Defence Ministry said it occurred on Thursday and involved a German navy helicopter and Israeli F-16 fighters.
“We are aware of the episode, but it was not menacing,” the spokesman said, after the Bild am Sonntag newspaper reported the Israeli planes had “dangerously badgered” the helicopter.
The spokesman said the area was used by the Israeli air force for training, adding: “Perhaps other standards apply for them than for us.”
On Wednesday, Israel denied a German newspaper report that two of its air force planes had fired twice as they flew over a German navy ship patrolling the Lebanon coast. But it did say jets had been scrambled when a helicopter took off from a German aircraft carrier without identifying itself.
Germany confirmed at the time that that an incident had occurred, but gave no details. It subsequently received assurances from Israeli Defence Minister Amir Peretz that the air force would not carry out any hostile fire or manoeuvres around German vessels.
Germany assumed command of a U.N. naval force off Lebanon this month, and has sent eight ships and 1,000 service personnel to join the international peace operation in the region.
The naval force is charged with preventing weapons smuggling and helping maintain a cease-fire between Israel and Lebanese Hezbollah guerrillas.