Asharq Al-awsat English Middle-east and International News and Opinion from Asharq Al-awsat Newspaper

Israel Shells South Lebanon after Hezbollah Attack

Israel Shells South Lebanon after Hezbollah Attack

Sunday, 1 September, 2019 - 15:00
Lebanese army soldiers and intelligence members stand near a vehicle that carries the remains of an Israeli drone that crashed in Beit Yahoun village, in southern Lebanon, March 31, 2018. REUTERS/ Hasan Shaaban

Israel on Sunday shelled the outskirts of Lebanese border villages after Hezbollah fired anti-tank missiles on an Israeli military base and vehicles.

"A number of anti-tank missiles were fired from Lebanon towards an Israeli military base and military vehicles. A number of hits have been confirmed," it said in a statement.

"The Israeli army is responding with fire towards the sources of fire and targets in southern Lebanon," the military said.

According to Lebanon's National News Agency (NNA), Israel shelled the outskirts of the southern towns of Maroun al-Ras, Aitaroun and Yaroun that lie near the border between the two countries.

Later, Israel's military said that the fighting with Hezbollah was over.

"Hezbollah executed the attack ... however (it) failed to cause casualties," a military spokesman said. "The tactical event on the ground ... appears to be behind us, however the strategic situation is still on, and the Israeli army maintains an elevated level of readiness."

The eruption of fighting came after Hezbollah said its fighters destroyed an Israeli military vehicle, killing or wounding those inside.

The tit-for-tat attacks had been anticipated after Hezbollah vowed to retaliate to drone attacks on its stronghold in Beirut’s southern suburbs last week.

In the early hours of last Sunday, an Israeli drone crashed and another exploded shortly after, causing damage to Hezbollah’s media offices in the suburbs.

Hezbollah leader Hasan Nasrallah pledged to retaliate for the attack, which he described as “very, very, dangerous.”

Amid the Hezbollah threats, Israel had moved reinforcements into the border area.

On Sunday, Israelis living near the frontier were instructed by authorities to stay indoors.

Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri held telephone calls with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo as well as an adviser to French President Emmanuel Macron urging Washington and Paris as well as the international community to intervene in the volatile situation.

Hariri’s press office also said that the PM held a phone call with President Michel Aoun and informed him of the international contacts he made.

He also called Army Commander General Joseph Aoun who informed him of the measures taken by the army to contain the situation along the Lebanese-Israeli border.

Earlier on Sunday, the Lebanese military said an Israeli drone had dropped incendiary material and sparked a fire in a pine forest by the border.

The fires near the border in Lebanon "originate with operations by our forces in the area," the Israeli military said in a statement, without elaborating.

Editor Picks