The fighting on Friday erupted when Israeli soldiers crossed the "blue line" and tried to infiltrate into the self-ruled territories in southern Lebanon, our correspondent reported, quoting a Hizb Allah statement.  

 

"During the infiltration of Zionist occupation forces there was an ambush near Islamic resistance positions and an exchange of fire and rockets that led to death and injuries in enemy ranks, and fierce clashes continue in that area," agencies said, quoting the Hizb Allah.

 

Hizb Allah fighters launched the missile and artillery attack targeting Israeli sites in Ruwaisat al-Alam, al-Sammaqa and Ramthad areas in the southern Shabaa farms occupied by the Israeli army, the correspondent said.

 

Bombing

 

The Israeli army bombed the eastern parts of Kfar Shouba, Kfar Hamam town and al-Hibbari, the correspondent said.  

   

Hizb Allah launched at least 50 mortar rounds at three Israeli military positions in the Shabaa Farms area, causing fires to break out, a Reuters witness said.

 

An injured Israeli soldier being
carried away

There was no immediate word from the Israeli side on casualties, but the Israeli army confirmed there had been heavy clashes in the area. 

Hizb Allah, powerful in south Lebanon, claims Shabaa Farms is rightfully Lebanese territory, while the United Nations describes it as Israeli-occupied Syrian land.  

The clash was the third near the Israeli-Lebanese border in as many days. Hizb Allah fighters tried to attack an Israeli military position on the border on Thursday, but were repelled by troops who opened fire at them.

   

On Wednesday, Israeli warplanes bombed what the Israeli military said were Hizb Allah artillery positions in southern Lebanon after the group fired anti-aircraft shells at northern Israel.

   

The flare-up on the border came against a backdrop of reports that a new round of German-mediated prisoner swap negotiations between Israel and Hizb Allah were close to a breakthrough.

 

Hizb Allah forced Israel to end its 18-year occupation of Lebanon war in 2000 but Tel Aviv has retained forces in the Shabaa Farms area.