Hizbullah Denies Involvement in Israel Border ‘Clash’

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Hizbullah denied involvement in combat Monday at the Lebanon-Israel border after Israel said it had repelled an attempt by “terrorists” to penetrate its territory.

Hizbullah “confirms that it did not take part in any clash and did not open fire in today’s events until now,” it said in a statement.

“All that the enemy’s media is claiming about thwarting an infiltration operation from Lebanon into occupied Palestine… is completely false,” it added.

The group also denied Israeli media reports about Hizbullah casualties in the incident, describing the claims as “an attempt to fabricate fictional and false victories.”

The gunfire was “from one side only, the side of the scared, nervous and tense enemy,” Hizbullah added.

Moreover, it stressed that its response to the death of its fighter Ali Kamel Mohsen in an Israeli raid in Syria “will certainly come.”

“The Zionists will only have to keep waiting for the punishment to their crimes,” Hizbullah said.

It also warned that the Israeli shelling that hit a civilian house in the southern town of al-Hibbariyeh will not go without a response.

Israel had earlier said that it repelled an attempt by “terrorists” to penetrate its territory, opening fire on the gunmen just after they crossed the frontier with Lebanon.

Israel’s army said a group of three to five men armed with assault rifles crossed the Blue Line that divides Israel and Lebanon in the occupied Shebaa Farms.

Israeli army spokesman Jonathan Conricus said that despite the area being forested, spotters had tracked the group as they approached the Blue Line.

“Once they crossed the border, we engaged,” he said.

There was an exchange of fire between the gunmen and Israeli forces, which did not result in any Israeli casualties, Conricus said.

“We confirmed visually that the terrorists fled back to Lebanon,” he added.

Conricus said Israeli forces had fired artillery into Lebanon “for defensive purposes.”

An AFP correspondent reported Israeli artillery bombardment on the hills of Kfarshouba in the Shebaa Farms area near the Israeli position of Roueysaat al-Alam, and reported plumes of smoke rising above the area.

Israel’s army had initially ordered civilians on its side of the Blue Line to stay indoors, but later lifted those restrictions.

The firing has stopped, according to the United Nations peacekeeping force UNIFIL, which called for “maximum restraint.”

The border developments come a week after an alleged Israeli missile attack hit positions of Syrian regime forces and their allies south of Damascus on July 20, killing five. Hizbullah said one of its own died in the raid.

Hizbullah number two Sheikh Naim Qassem said in a televised interview on Sunday that “if the Israelis decide to launch a war, we will confront it and we will respond.”

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