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Israel, Lebanese, Hezbollah, Avoid Confrontation over Shooting

See: IDF Confirms: Soldier Killed from Lebanon Gunfire

A Lebanese soldier opened fire Sunday at an Israeli vehicle in the Rosh Hanikra border area, killing Israeli soldier Shlomi Cohen, 31. Six to seven shots were fired at the vehicle, which was on a road adjacent to the electronic border fence with Lebanon, on Israel’s side.

The Rosh Hanikra border crossing. Photo credit: IDF Spokesperson's Office

The Rosh Hanikra border crossing. Photo credit: IDF Spokesperson’s Office

At around 1:00 AM Monday, Lebanon’s LBCI television reported the Israeli army retaliated by opening fire at the Lebanese General Security post at the border crossing. the incident had taken place at 9 PM, Sunday.

The incident has not been confirmed by the Lebanese army.

Israel protested to the United Nations peacekeeping force in southern Lebanon, which, apparently, stood by and watched the incident as it was unfolding.

“The IDF has protested this outrageous breach of Israel’s sovereignty with UNIFIL and has heightened its state of preparedness along the border,” the IDF statement said. “We will not tolerate aggression against the state of Israel and maintain the right to exercise self-defense.”

In the 2006 war, which started after Hezbollah terrorists crossed into Israel and captured two Israeli soldiers, about 1,200 Lebanese and 160 Israelis lost their lives. This is the reason the Lebanese media and government are on edge each time there’s a clash at their southern border, lest it blossom into a bigger conflict.

Hezbollah, which has tens of thousands of missiles aimed at Israel, is preoccupied with helping Syrian President Bashar Assad push back the Suni rebels—a move which Israel tacitly approves. So, for now, Hezbollah and Israel are strangely supporting the same side in Syria, and the Lebanese terror organization is not interested in opening a second front with Israel.

Since the last war, the Lebanese border has seen only sporadic violence, with Israel responding with airstrikes and artillery fire following a number of rocket attacks and shootings across the border.

In 2010, a high-ranking Israeli officer was killed by a Lebanese sniper. Israel responded with artillery fire, killing two Lebanese soldiers and a journalist.

Lebanon’s National News Agency said “a Lebanese army force opened fire at an Israeli unit on the border, near the Naqoura crossing.”

Lebanese TV networks, including al-Manar, and Arab televisions, including Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiya, reported the incident.

The Hezbollah news agency Al-Manar fabricated a story about how an Israeli force tried to infiltrate Lebanese territory in Naqoura, which provoked a clash with the Lebanese army.

But the Lebanese TV network said a single soldier opened fire and that “contact with him was lost.”

A military source told MTV that “there are no clashes between the Lebanese army and Israeli army and the situation is under control.”

The MTV correspondent in Jerusalem reported that “a Lebanese soldier opened fire at a civilian car that was on the Israeli side of the border, killing an Israeli navy officer who was in it.”

Later on Sunday, NNA said the Lebanese and Israeli armies were both on alert on the border and that an Israeli surveillance drone was flying at low altitude over Ras al-Naqoura.

UNIFIL spokesperson Andrea Tinenti told AFP that his force was informed about a “serious” border incident and was trying to establish the facts. “The situation is ongoing and the UNIFIL force commander is in contact with counterparts, urging restraint.”

On Thursday, the IDF reported shots fired across the border by Lebanese “hunters,” with no casualties.

Last August, the Lebanese army and UNIFIL reported that four Israeli soldiers on patrol were wounded in a blast 400 yards inside Lebanese territory.

About the Author: Yori Yanover has been a working journalist since age 17, before he enlisted and worked for Ba'Machane Nachal. Since then he has worked for Israel Shelanu, the US supplement of Yedioth, JCN18.com, USAJewish.com, Lubavitch News Service, Arutz 7 (as DJ on the high seas), and the Grand Street News. He has published Dancing and Crying, a colorful and intimate portrait of the last two years in the life of the late Lubavitch Rebbe, (in Hebrew), and two fun books in English: The Cabalist's Daughter: A Novel of Practical Messianic Redemption, and How Would God REALLY Vote.


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