UN: Israel-Hezbollah Ceasefire Brokered by Peacekeepers

Border violence escalated Friday when Hezbollah attacked IDF post, lightly injuring soldier.

United Nations sources said late Friday night that UN peacekeeping forces in southern Lebanon had brokered a ceasefire between Hezbollah and Israel after an escalation in border violence between the two sides during the day.

Hezbollah forces attacked an Israel Defense Forces post on the Lebanese border on Friday, two days after troops shot dead a Lebanese shepherd in the area.

In retaliation for the attack, which left one soldier lightly injured, IDF artillery shelled areas on the Lebanese side of the border. Shortly afterwards, Israel Air Force planes bombed Hezbollah positions in southern Lebanon.

Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, said that Friday's firing in the disputed Shaba Farms area lasted about an hour and a half.

"With the fire now on hold, troops from United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon are patrolling the area," Dujarric said.

Hezbollah's attack on Israeli troops targeted the Har Dov military base in northern Israel, near Shaba Farms, the army said.

A Hezbollah statement said the base took "direct hits" from the shelling. The attackers fired anti-tank rockets and mortars at the post.

Also Friday, UNIFIL completed a probe into Wednesday's shooting death by IDF troops of a young Lebanese national who crossed into Israel.

In a meeting with Lebanese speaker of parliament Nabih Belli, a UN representative in Lebanon called the killing "a serious violation of the blue line by Israel." The so-called blue line is the frontier between Israel and Lebanon, drawn by the UN after Israel's withdrawn from its northern neighbor in May 200.

Geir Pederson, the secretary-general's personal representative in southern Lebanon, also called on all parties to exercise full restraint and to fully respect the blue line while reminding them that one violation cannot justify another."

Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah vowed on Thursday to avenge the killing of the 17-year-old Lebanese shepherd.

Anticipating an attack, the army had bolstered its presence in northern Israel.

Hezbollah has periodically attacked IDF troops on the border, mainly in the Shaba Farms area, since Israel withdrew from south Lebanon in 2000.

Lebanon says Shaba is occupied Lebanese territory. The United Nations and Israel say it is Syrian land. Hezbollah claims its attacks are in retaliation for Israeli infringements on Lebanese sovereignty, including almost daily flights by IAF warplanes.

The Security Council authorized UN peacekeepers this week to remain another six months in south Lebanon. The force deployed in the area after an Israeli invasion in 1978.