Israeli forces fire shells into southern Lebanon as Netanyahu warns of retaliation after two soldiers are killed.
Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon said that Israel has received a message from the Lebanese group Hezbollah that it was backing away from further violence, a day after the worst deadly clashes in years erupted along the border.
Yaalon said on Thursday that Israel received the message through the United Nations peacekeeping force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), saying that Hezbollah was not interested in further escalation.
|Israel threatens Hezbollah over deadly missile attack|
The Israel-Lebanon border, where two Israeli soldiers and a Spanish UNIFIL peacekeeper were killed in an exchange of fire between Hezbollah and Israel, appeared quiet early on Thursday.
“Indeed, a message was received,” Yaalon said. “There are lines of coordination between us and Lebanon via UNIFIL and such a message was indeed received from Lebanon.”
In Beirut, Hezbollah officials could not immediately be reached for comment.
“I can’t say whether the events are behind us,” Yaalon added in a separate radio interview. “Until the area completely calms down, the Israel Defence Forces will remain prepared and ready.”
The Israeli soldiers were killed when Hezbollah fired five missiles at a convoy of Israeli military vehicles. The attack appeared to be in retaliation for a January 18 Israeli air strike in southern Syria that killed several Hezbollah members and an Iranian general.
The peacekeeper in southern Lebanon was killed as Israel responded with air strikes and artillery fire, a UN spokesman and Spanish officials said.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Hezbollah on Wednesday saying it will pay the “price” for killing two Israeli soldiers.
Israeli army spokesman, Lieutenant Colonel Peter Lerner, commented on Wednesday’s attack saying it was the “most severe” attack Israel had faced since 2006, when it fought a month-long war with Hezbollah that killed more than 1,200 people in Lebanon, mostly civilians, and some 160 Israelis, mostly soldiers.