Four IDF Soldiers Hurt in Explosion on Israel-Lebanon Border

Israeli troops were involved in cross-border operations when the blast occurred; Lebanese media says the explosion occurred about 150 meters in Lebanese territory after Israeli patrol car crossed border.

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Four Israel Defense Forces soldiers were wounded early Wednesday in an explosion that occured near the Lebanese border. The troops were involved in cross-border operations when the blast occurred.

An IDF spokesman who briefed the media about the incident on Wednesday morning said that the army was investigating, and would continue to maintain security along the northern border. He gave few details on the incident and on the source of the explosion.

Three of the soldiers were moderately hurt and the fourth sustained light wounds. They are now being treated at a hospital in Nahariya, and their families have been notified.

The Lebanese Army said that in a "violation of Lebanese sovereignty", an Israeli infantry patrol crossed the UN-designated "blue line" between the two countries and moved 400 meters inside Lebanese territory, foreign media reported.

"During the infiltration, an explosion occurred which led to a number of them being wounded," the Lebanese military said, adding it was investigating the circumstances of the blast in coordination with UN peacekeepers in southern Lebanon.

Earlier, a Lebanese security source said the incident may have taken place north of the border fence which separates Israeli and Lebanese forces, but on the Israeli side of the line.

Another security source said the explosion was 150 meters from the the blue line.

Asked about the incident, Andrea Teneti, a spokesman for the peacekeeping force, UNIFIL, said he had "no information in relation to our mandate of operations," and he described the situation as calm.

Hezbollah's Al-Manar website reported that blood stains and a hole were visible in the road.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said following the incident that Israel would "continue to act responsibly to defend Israel's borders, as was done overnight." He sent well wishes to the wounded soldiers, and added: "We will continue to protect our state."

In this picture taken on Thursday May 23, 2013, Israeli soldiers patrol their side near the southern Lebanese-Israeli border of Hamames village, Lebanon. Credit: AP

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