Israeli army reports ‘security incident’ on Lebanon border

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The incident occurred in an area known as Chebaa Farms, an area captured by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war and claimed by Lebanon.

Source: Associated Press

Chebaa Farms (Annahar Photo)

JERUSALEM: The Israeli military said Monday it received reports of a “security incident” along the country’s volatile border with Lebanon and ordered residents in the area to stay indoors.

The report came as Israel was on heightened alert for possible attacks by the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah. Tensions have been high since an Israeli airstrike in Syria killed a Hezbollah militant last week.

Israeli army spokesman Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus said the military was “able to successfully thwart an attempt to infiltrate into Israel” by a group of armed militants.

“We know for certain that they were armed and that they crossed the Blue Line into Israel,” Conricus told reporters, referring to the line delineating Israel’s frontier with Lebanon.

Israel and Hezbollah fought to a stalemate in a month-long war in Lebanon in 2006.

Israeli army spokesman Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus said the military was “able to successfully thwart an attempt to infiltrate into Israel” by a group of armed militants.

“We know for certain that they were armed and that they crossed the Blue Line into Israel,” Conricus told reporters, referring to the line delineating Israel’s frontier with Lebanon.

Conricus said Israeli troops opened fire on the militants after they entered Israeli-controlled territory, and that the militants returned fire. Conricus said no Israeli forces were wounded in the exchange, but could not comment on the condition of the militants, who fled the scene.

Hezbollah said its fighters were not involved in any fighting along the border with Israel. In a statement following the clashes, the group said all claims by Israeli media about an infiltration attempt by Hezbollah into Israel “are not true at all, and are attempts to invent illusive victories.”

Hezbollah said the group’s retaliation for its member killed by an Israeli strike in Syria “is definitely coming, and the Zionists should remain waiting for the punishment for their crimes.” The group said it would not remain silent after Israel’s cross-border shelling Monday, which Hezbollah said damaged a home in the southern Lebanese village of Hibariyeh.

The U.N. peacekeeping force in Lebanon, known as UNFIL, said its commander Maj. Gen. Stefano Del Col was in contact with both parties during the exchange of fire to assess the situation and decrease tensions, urging “maximum restraint.”

Speaking in parliament, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the government was closely following developments in the north.

“The military is prepared for every scenario,” he said. “We operate in all the arenas for Israel’s defense — close to our borders and far from our borders.”

Netanyahu and Defense Minister Benny Gantz cut short meetings in parliament to meet military commanders at army headquarters in Tel Aviv.

The exchange of fire comes a day after Gantz met with army brass near the country’s northern frontier. Following his visit, Israel released a statement saying a military drone had crashed in southern Lebanon.

 

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