Beirut, Lebanon – A big explosion set off by Hezbollah has targeted Israeli forces at the Lebanese border.
The Lebanese Shia group said it carried out Monday’s attack that targeted two Israeli military vehicles on Mount Dov in response to the killing of Samir Kantar, a Hezbollah operative who died in Syria in a suspected Israeli air strike last month.
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Israel’s army said the attack occurred in the Shebaa Farms area and that its forces responded with artillery fire.
Shebaa Farms is a small strip of land at the intersection of the Lebanese-Syrian border and contested between the two countries.
It was annexed by Israel in 1981 as part of the occupied Golan Heights, a move not recognised by the international community.
The Israelis did not immediately announce any injuries or fatalities, but the Hezbollah statement said the attack resulted in injuries.
“At 3:10pm, the Samir Kantar Martyr Group in the Islamic Resistance exploded a big IED on the Zibdin-Kafra road in the occupied Shebaa Farms area against a patrol of Israeli vehicles,” said the statement.
“The result included destroying a Hummer [vehicle] and injuring those inside.”
Israeli shelling hit the nearby town of Wazzani and other areas, with initial reports of injuries and damage to homes in Lebanon.
Last month Kantar, a prominent commander of Hezbollah, was killed in Syria in a suspected Israeli air strike in Damascus.
Hassan Nasrallah, the Hezbollah leader, pledged to avenge Kantar’s death and said Israel would be held accountable for the deadly air strike.
“The reply to the killing of Kantar is coming,” Nasrallah said after the killing.
“What is important is that they should understand that killing our brothers won’t pass without a price.”
Hezbollah’s last operation in the Shebaa Farms against the Israeli military took place last January after the Israelis killed several of its members, including Jihad Mughniyeh, a senior commander, and an Iranian commander in the Syrian province of Quneitra.
Hezbollah is fighting on the side of President Bashar al-Assad in Syria’s war.
In 2006, Israel fought a bloody war against Hezbollah that killed more than 1,200 people in Lebanon, mostly civilians, and some 160 Israelis, mostly soldiers.