Israeli Soldier Wounded by Gunfire on Lebanon Border

A passing car on the Lebanese side of the border fires rounds at soldiers, who returned fire, the army reports.

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Israeli forces on the Lebanon border fence.
Israeli forces on the Lebanon border fence, 2012.Credit: Yaron Kaminsky

An Israeli soldier was lightly wounded by gunfire from Lebanon on Wednesday border, the military said.

Israel Defense Forces said a group of soldiers working on defenses on the border was fired upon from a vehicle passing on the Lebanese side, near the northern Israeli town of Metula.

The soldier was hit by shrapnel and was lightly hurt. He was evacuated to a hospital in Safed. The soldiers, members of the Golani infantry brigade, returned fire with their personal assault rifles.

The head of the Metula local authority, David Azulay, said that farmers were instructed not to work fields near the border.

Shortly after the incident, more gunshots were heard in the area. The army later said that another military force identified the suspected car in Lebanese territory and exchanged fire with it. The military said that the Israeli troops registered a hit.

A Lebanese political source told Haaretz that "Lebanon is going through a sensitive period due to recent political developments, and ahead of the parliament session of Monday in which a new president will be elected after two years of deadlock." The transition, he said, will be completed after a new government is be established in Lebanon.

Wednesday's incident, he said, could be an attempt to increase tensions on the Israeli-Lebanese border and interfere with the political developments. The source noted, however, that both Hezbollah and the main opposition group are not interested in any escalation with Israel, and speculated that external or criminal elements were trying to disturb the peace.

Reports in Lebanon said the military was denying any Lebanese involvement in the incident. Citing military sources, the reports said that the Israeli soldier was probably wounded by errant Israeli fire. However, the Lebanese army has not yet issued an official response.

A similar incident occurred in the area in July, when shrapnel hit the military identification tag of a soldier positioned at a military post in Metula. At the time, the military said it believed the shooting was errant fire.

On Tuesday, a 15-year-old was shot and killed on the Egyptian border. The teen was repairing the border fence with his family members, who are Defense Ministry contractors. The foreman of the workers said an Egyptian policeman fired at the teen, after mistaking him for a smuggler.

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