Israeli shelling wounded three members of Lebanon’s Iran-backed Hezbollah movement near the Israeli border on Wednesday, a security source in southern Lebanon said. The incident comes amid tensions along the Israel-Lebanon border region, a stronghold of the Shiite movement and the site of sporadic clashes. “Three Hezbollah members were wounded in Israeli firing near the border,” the source told AFP, requesting anonymity. Three other sources with knowledge of the incident also said that Hezbollah members were wounded. One said a sound grenade was fired and three members suffered “slight” injuries.
The Israeli army said in a statement that “several suspects approached the northern security fence along the Lebanese border and attempted to sabotage the security fence in the area.” “The troops immediately observed the suspects and used means to disarm them,” the army said, adding that “the identity of the suspects is unknown.” An AFP correspondent said the incident happened near the village of al-Bustan, where Lebanese army and peacekeepers were stationed.
The Israeli army released footage of the incident showing several people running towards the fence, before an apparent explosion occurred and they fled. The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), which acts as a buffer between Lebanon and Israel, said it was “aware of disturbing reports about an incident on the Blue Line.” “The situation is extremely sensitive. We urge all to desist from any action that could lead to any kind of escalation,” it said in a statement.
Israel and Hezbollah fought a devastating war in 2006 after the group captured two Israeli soldiers. The conflict killed 1,200 Lebanese, mostly civilians, and 160 Israelis, mostly soldiers. Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah said in a televised speech marking the anniversary of the 2006 war that Wednesday’s incident was “under investigation”. UNIFIL was established in 1978 to oversee the withdrawal of Israeli forces after they invaded Lebanon in retaliation for the Palestinian assault. The UN mission was expanded in response to the 2006 conflict, and operates south near the border.
Lebanon and Israel are technically at war. Wednesday’s incident comes less than a week after the Israeli army invaded southern Lebanon following an anti-tank missile launch from its northern neighbor. The missile exploded in the border area between the two enemies. On the same day, Hezbollah denounced Israel for building a concrete wall around the city of Ghajar. The Blue Line passes through Ghajar, formally placing its northern part in Lebanon and its southern part in the Israeli-occupied and occupied Golan Heights. Nasrallah said on Wednesday, “This land will not be given to the Israelis.” Through “cooperation” between Hezbollah, the state and the Lebanese people, he said, “we can get back the land we occupied in Gaza.” Will file a complaint with the United Nations Security Council regarding
Considered a “terrorist” organization by many Western governments, Hezbollah is the only party that has not disarmed since the 1975–1990 Lebanese Civil War, and is also a powerful player in Lebanese politics. Nasrallah also said that Hezbollah had recently put up two tents at Sheeba Farms – one built in disputed territory – but the Israelis “did not dare to take any action on the ground” in response. In June, Hezbollah said it shot down an Israeli drone flying over southern Lebanese airspace. In April, Israel’s military said troops had shot down a drone that had entered its airspace from Lebanon, a day after rockets rained down on Israel.