Hezbollah Claims Responsibility for Blasts, After Two Israeli Soldiers Wounded

First blast near Israel-Lebanon border wounds IDF soldiers, second causes no injuries or damage; IDF fires artillery at two Hezbollah targets near Israel-Lebanon border, calling events 'a flagrant violation of Israel's sovereignty.'

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Archive photo showing IDF soldier on Israel's border with Lebanon.
Archive photo showing IDF soldier on Israel's border with Lebanon.Credit: Yaron Kaminsky

Two Israel Defense Forces soldiers were wounded on Tuesday after a bomb exploded near their position on Mount Dov, near the Shaba Farms area on the Lebanon border. The two were treated on the spot. Thirty minutes after the first blast, a second device exploded in the same area. There were no injuries or damage reported from the second incident.

The IDF responded with artillery fire at two Hezbollah targets near the border, the IDF Spokesperson confirmed. The IDF placed responsibility on Hezbollah and the Lebanese government for the explosions, calling the events "a flagrant violation of Israel's sovereignty."

A Hezbollah cell calling itself the Ali Hassan Martyr Unit took responsibility for the blasts and reported wounded among the Israeli soldiers.

Lebanon's Al-Manar television, which is aligned with the Shi'ite militia group Hezbollah, said an explosion had been heard near the southern Lebanese village of Kafr Shouba.

"Hezbollah was responsible for the placing and operation of these devices and therefore their targets were attacked," said Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon. "We also hold the Lebanese government responsible for this situation of a state-within-a-state."

In a statement, the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon said it "contacted both parties urging maximum restraint and asking them to cooperate with UNIFIL in order to reduce tension and prevent escalation."

The agency said it would look into the facts and circumstances of the incident.

"This incident is a violation of UN Resolution 1701," the agency said. The August 2006 resolution ended Israel's Second Lebanon War.

"Such actions [contravene] our objectives and efforts to reduce tensions and establish a stable and secure environment in southern Lebanon," UNIFIL said.

The explosion comes two days after the Israeli military opened fire at a number of suspects who crossed into Israeli-controlled territory from Lebanon.

According to the military, Israeli troops observing the border on Sunday identified the suspects approaching. Soldiers from the Egoz Reconnaissance Unit then fired toward the cell after it had crossed into Israel. Some of the suspects were armed with light weapons, the Israel Defense Forces said.

The IDF said one of the suspects was wounded before fleeing back into Lebanon. The incident is being investigated.

Lebanese media reports said, however, that the IDF had opened fire on a Lebanon Army lookout position, adding that Lebanese forces responded with fire. The Israeli military denied this claim.

The incident follows a restless month along Israel's northern frontier. In September, Lebanese media reported that an IDF drone destroyed an Israeli listening device after it was discovered near the town of Tyre in southern Lebanon. A Hezbollah operative was reportedly killed in the blast and several were wounded.

A few hours later, the Lebanese army reported that another Israeli listening device had been discovered and dismantled.

Also in September, an Israeli Skylark drone malfunctioned during routine operations along the border, crashing near the southern Lebanese town of Marjayoun.

A senior Israeli official said last week that both the Syrian and the Lebanese frontiers are currently tense.

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