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Israel strikes Hezbollah posts in Lebanon after shots fired at troops, military says

Reuters/Tel Aviv
Filed on August 27, 2020 | Last updated on August 27, 2020 at 12.21 am
israel, military, strikes, hezbollah, lebanon
UN vehicles are seen in Houla village near the Lebanese-Israeli border, in southern Lebanon, August 26, 2020.

(Reuters)

Officials accuse Hezbollah of deliberately operating near a UN peacekeeping post and putting personnel inside at risk.

The Israeli military struck what it said were posts belonging to Lebanon's Shi'ite Hezbollah group on Wednesday after shots were fired at troops in Israel, in a flare-up that added to already high tensions along the frontier.

The Israeli military said a Hezbollah squad in southern Lebanon fired at Israeli forces late on Tuesday, causing no casualties, and accused the group of deliberately operating near a UN peacekeeping post and putting personnel inside at risk.

"In response, overnight, IDF attack helicopters and aircraft struck observation posts belonging to the Hezbollah terror organisation in the border area," the military said in a statement, referring to the Israel Defence Forces.

No casualties were reported on either side of the frontier. On Wednesday morning, the Israeli military told Israelis living near the border, who had been initially instructed to remain indoors, that they could resume normal activities.

Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said what happened in southern Lebanon on Tuesday, an apparent reference to the Israeli strikes, was an "important and sensitive" matter.

Speaking in a televised speech on Al-Manar TV on Wednesday, Nasrallah said he had nothing further to say on the incident, but planned to comment later, without giving further details.

Israel and Iranian-backed Hezbollah last fought a war in 2006, and border tensions have been running high in recent weeks.

Last month, Israel said Hezbollah had carried out an infiltration attempt, which the group denied.

The killing of a Hezbollah fighter in an Israeli air strike in July in Syria, where it operates in support of President Bashar Al Assad, has raised Israeli concern about retaliation.

Briefing reporters on the latest flareup, Lieutenant-Colonel Jonathan Conricus, an Israeli military spokesman, said: "It is our assessment that the choice of location by Hezbollah (for the sniping attack) was not accidental ... probably in order to (draw) Israeli retaliation towards a UN position or near it."

Witnesses in south Lebanon said Israel had fired scores of flares at border villages during the night-time incident.


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