An IDF soldier patrolling Israel's border with Lebanon.
An IDF soldier patrolling Israel's border with Lebanon, August 2010. Photo by Yaron Kaminsky
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Yaron Kaminski
Israel-Lebanon border Photo by Yaron Kaminski

An explosive charge detonated Friday evening near Har Dov in the vicinity of the Israel-Lebanon border.

No wounded were reported in the attack which targeted an IDF force. The Israeli army said it is investigating the incident.

The IDF fired at a Hezbollah position near the border north of the Israeli city of Metula, using tanks stationed in the area and artillery.

A high-ranking officer told reporters that no Hezbollah casualties are known, and noted that the retaliatory fire was "automatic, as a result of understanding the incident." He added that the IDF currently considers Hezbollah as involved in the incident. The IDF is still uncertain where exactly the charge was placed and what was it made of.

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), an extremist al-Qaeda linked group whose militants are fighting in Syria, claimed responsibility for the attack on the patrol.

Lebanese sources reporedt the IDF fired five artillery shells at open terrain near Lebanese villages, causing no injuries.

The Lebanese army announced a state of alert along the border, and eyewitnesses reported increased activity by UNIFIL forces in the area.

Today, March 14, marks the 36th anniversary of the Litani Operation, in which the Israeli army invaded Lebanon up to the Litani River in 1978 in response to the Coastal Road massacre.

About ten days ago a similar incident occurred in the northern Golan Heights, when an IDF force spotted several persons suspected of attempting to plant a charge near the border fence with Syria. The force fired at the persons, using both artillery shells and bullet rounds.

An IDF source said the activity was directed by Hezbollah.

Tensions have risen in the north since an airstrike, attributed by foreign reports to the Israeli Air Force, targeted a Hezbollah weapons convoy in Lebanon. 

Hezbollah threatened to attack Israel in retaliation, and Israeli authorities directed civilians to stir clear of the border to avoid possible sniper fire. 

Lebanese security forces told the Lebanese newspaper a-Nahar after the attack that "Israel has taken Hezbollah's threats very seriously." According to the report, in addition to the increased alertness along the northern border, Israel has also related a message through UNIFIL to Lebanon's government according to which all Lebanon will come under fire if Hezbollah carries out its threats.