Israel Warns Hezbollah After Cross-border Fire; Lebanon Denounces 'Assault'

Netanyahu says Israel will 'respond forcefully' to attacks against it ■ Lebanon's Supreme Defense Council denounces 'Israeli assault,' tasks caretaker foreign minister with filing UN complaint

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Israeli soldiers sit in a tent next to their mobile artillery piece near the border with Lebanon, northern Israel, Wednesday, August 26, 2020.
Israeli soldiers sit in a tent next to their mobile artillery piece near the border with Lebanon, northern Israel, Wednesday, August 26, 2020.Credit: Ariel Schalit/AP

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded Wednesday morning to the previous night's exchange of fire on the Lebanon border, warning that Israel will not tolerate an escalation by Hezbollah.

“Israel takes the shooting at our forces by Hezbollah very seriously," he said in a tweet. “We will not tolerate any aggression against our citizens and will respond forcefully to any attack against us.”

Netanyahu added, “I advise Hezbollah not to try Israel's … [military] force. Hezbollah is once again endangering Lebanon because of its aggression.”

On Tuesday night, Hezbollah fired at Israeli troops in Menara, a kibbutz on the northern border, from Lebanese territory. The Israeli Air Force responded by striking Hezbollah observation posts with helicopters and planes. There were no casaulties reported on either side.

Alternate Prime Minister and Defense Minister Benny Gantz said that "we will continue to work to bring complete calm to the south of the country." He added, “In the north, Nasrallah cannot harm either our soldiers or our country. We will respond harshly to any event that happens at the border."

Combo photo: Benny Gantz, left, and Benjamin Netanyahu (taken March 1, 2020)Credit: AMIR COHEN/ REUTERS

Lebanon's Supreme Defense Council denounced on Wednesday what it called "an Israeli assault" in the south of the country along the border the night before.

The council tasked the caretaker foreign minister with filing a complaint to the United Nations.

The Israeli military ordered residents in several communities near the border with Lebanon to stay in their homes for about an hour, closed roads in the north and fired illumination flares across the border during the night as it attempted to rule out the possibility of militants crossing the border, finding no evidence of a breach in the fence.

The incident came days after an Israeli drone crashed in Lebanon during operational activity on Saturday, with the military saying there was no fear that any intelligence had been compromised.

Last month, the military said it had stopped an attempted attack by Hezbollah operatives trying to cross the border into Israel. A probe of the incident suggested that the operatives managed to get within 50 meters of a military post, but fled after troops shot toward them.

That incident came after the Iran-backed Lebanese Shi'ite group vowed to avenge the death of one of its fighters, who was reportedly killed in an airstrike on pro-Iranian militants in Syria that a war-monitoring group attributed to Israel.

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