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Israel responds to anti-tank missiles fired from Lebanon

UNITED STATES, WASHINGTON (OBSERVATORY) — Israel said on Sunday it had fired back into southern Lebanon after firing anti-tank rockets into its territory, raising fears of a serious escalation with Hezbollah after a week of mounting tension.

On Sunday, Hezbollah announced the destruction of an Israeli military vehicle in the Avivim area near the southern border of Lebanon, pointing to the deaths and injuries, a week after it accused Israel of carrying out an attack with two drones in its stronghold near Beirut and killing two of its members in a raid in Syria.

“A number of anti-tank missiles were fired from Lebanon towards an Israeli military base and military vehicles,” the army said in a statement. “The strikes were confirmed,” he said. “Israeli forces responded with fire on the source of rockets and targets in southern Lebanon.”

After initial reports of the shooting, a military spokesman called on Israelis living four kilometers from the border with Lebanon to remain in their homes and prepare shelters without requiring them to enter for the time being.

“At 4:15 pm on Sunday, September 1, 2019, the group of martyrs Hassan Zbib and Yasser Dahir destroyed an Israeli military vehicle at the road of the Avivim barracks, killing and wounding them, ” Hezbollah said in a statement on Sunday.

Hezbollah named the group that killed the Israeli strike in Syria a week ago.

According to the official NNA news agency, Israeli forces targeted the outskirts of the town of Maroun al-Ras, which is located across from Avivim.

Smoke appeared to be rising from the Maroun al-Ras area, Hezbollah’s al-Manar TV channel reported in a live broadcast.

A resident in a village near Maroun al-Ras reported hearing explosions from Israeli artillery fire.

Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri on Sunday asked Washington and Paris to intervene over the latest escalation after Hezbollah targeted an Israeli military vehicle near the southern border.

The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) called on all parties to “exercise restraint” following the escalation.

– Fears of further escalation –

This comes amid tension between Lebanon and Israel began about a week ago with Hezbollah and the Lebanese authorities accused Israel of launching an attack by two drones in the southern suburb of Beirut. The party said they were carrying explosives. One fell due to a technical failure and the other exploded, without specifying the target of the attack.

The attack took place shortly after Israeli raids on Saturday night targeted the home of Hezbollah fighters near Damascus, killing two of them, Zbib and Daher.

Hizbollah has vowed to respond to the Israeli attacks, and its Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah said on Saturday evening that “the issue for us is not a rehabilitation, but linked to the establishment of equations and the rules of engagement and the logic of protection of the country.”

“The Israeli should pay the price for his attack.”

Nasrallah also vowed to target Israeli marches, which often fly in Lebanese airspace.

Since the attacks, the Lebanese have been waiting for a response, and some have questioned whether it will lead to a further escalation.

However, Hezbollah’s deputy secretary general Naim Qassem said in an interview late Tuesday with Russia Today that “it is unlikely that the atmosphere will be a war atmosphere, the atmosphere is a response to an aggression and everything is decided at that time.”

In 2015 and 2016, Hezbollah targeted Israeli military vehicles in the occupied Shebaa Farms in response to Israeli raids on its fighters in the Syrian province of Quneitra.

In the aftermath of the Dahiya attack, Hezbollah considered this to be “the first major and clear violation of the rules of engagement established after the July 2006 war,” which erupted after Hezbollah captured two Israeli soldiers on 12 July. Israel responded with a devastating 33-day offensive. It did not succeed in achieving its stated goal of eliminating Hezbollah, which demonstrated the latter at the end of the war internally at the victorious position.

The war ended with the issuance of UN Resolution 1701, which established a cessation of hostilities between Lebanon and Israel, and reinforced the deployment of the United Nations Interim Force in South Lebanon (UNIFIL).

Israel accused Iran on Thursday of cooperating with Hezbollah to build precision-guided missiles in Lebanon.

According to the British Times, the drones landed on August 25 near fuel installations used for precision missiles.

Sunday’s escalation comes ahead of Israeli elections scheduled for September 17.

Observers say Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wants to avoid a major conflict before then because of the political risks involved, although he warned Lebanon and Hezbollah to “be careful.”

“The State of Israel knows how to defend itself and respond to its enemies,” Netanyahu said earlier this week in response to Nasrallah.

Netanyahu suggested that Hezbollah secretary general “calm down”.

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