Hezbollah: Explosives found by Israel-Lebanon border not new
In statement, guerilla group says devices planted were before war as 'defensive measure against attacks.'
Hezbollah said on Tuesday explosive devices found near the Israeli border with Lebanon had been there since before the war between Hezbollah guerrillas and Israel last summer.
The Israel Defense Forces said on Monday it found explosive devices near Israel's border fence with Lebanon for the first time since last year's war and suspected Hezbollah guerrillas were responsible.
"The Islamic Resistance denies that the devices which were found at the Lebanese border with Occupied Palestine in front of the village of Maroun al-Ras were new devices as the Zionist enemy alleges," a statement from the Shi'ite Muslim group said.
"And it affirms that these devices were planted before the last July war in the context of ... defensive measures to prevent ground attacks and incursions by the enemy's army on Lebanese lands."
The military had said IDF patrols were the apparent target of the four devices, which were discovered and safely detonated by army experts inside Israeli territory between the border community of Moshav Avivim and Maroun al-Ras.
The United Nations peacekeeping force in southern Lebanon, UNIFIL, has helped enforce a UN-brokered ceasefire that took effect on August 14.
A UNIFIL spokesman said on Tuesday it had concluded an initial investigation. "And ... we were not in a position to determine whether the devices were planted before or after August 14."
Israel launched an offensive into Lebanon after Hezbollah abducted IDF soldiers Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser in a July 12 cross-border raid. Around 1,200 people in Lebanon and 158 Israelis were killed before the August truce.
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