Monday, August 01, 2011

Gunfire Erupts Across Israel-Lebanon Border; And Here Come the Kassams

It would appear that a Lebanese soldier opened fire on an Israeli patrol operating inside Israel near the border and the Israeli forces returned fire. No Israelis were injured, but one Lebanese soldier was apparently wounded. Lebanese media outlets (and Hizbullah) claim that the Israeli patrol had crossed into Lebanon.
Five years after the Second Lebanon War broke out, Lebanese soldiers and IDF troops exchanged gunfire along the border earlier Monday.

IDF troops were operating along the border near the Hatzbani River when a Lebanese soldier opened fire at them. Israel returned fire at the Lebanese soldier. No IDF soldiers were injured in the incident. Lebanese media reported that one Lebanese soldier was injured from gunfire.

The IDF reported the incident to the UNIFIL force stationed in Lebanon along the border, stating that Israel was not interested in an escalation of violence.

The army added that they believed the incident was contained and it did not appear that a larger operation would follow.

Lebanese news website Naharnet reported that the LAF opened fire when IDF soldiers crossed over to the Lebanese side of the border. The IDF emphasized that they were operating on the Israeli side of the border.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said that the soldiers "behaved like they were supposed to. They are determined to defend themselves and the border."
Hizbullah issued a statement condemning Israel and attempted to spin this as Israeli provocation, even though it was the Lebanese soldier who opened fire on the Israelis. The terror group also admitted that they spurned millions of dollars to disarm - they rather like holding on to their weapons stockpile to carry on their war against Israel at the time and place of their choosing.

Indeed, UNIFIL issued a statement finding that Israel didn't cross the border and that the Lebanese opened fire without provocation. That's kind of tough to spin away. When UNIFIL take's Israel's side, you know that it was incontrovertible that Israel was within its rights to return fire.

Hopefully this can remain an isolated incident, and not part of some plan by Hizbullah or Assad to take pressure off the Syrians by manufacturing a conflict with Israel to divert media attention from the horrendous crackdown in Syria.

A similar border skirmish occurred nearly a year ago to a day; in that incident, one Israeli soldier was killed and several others wounded.

Meanwhile, a kassam landed near Ashkelon after being fired from Gaza. No one has claimed responsibility for that attack.

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