Several Israeli soldiers wounded in Lebanon attack claimed by Hezbollah

Hezbollah says it detonated ‘explosive devices’ targeting soldiers who crossed the border into Lebanon.

A Lebanese soldier and first responders deploy to a crater caused by an Israeli air raid that hit a road in Lebanon's southern village of Alma al-Shaab [AFP]

Several Israeli soldiers have been wounded in a blast in Lebanon near the Israeli border, according to the Israeli military and the Lebanese armed group Hezbollah, which claimed responsibility for the attack.

Iran-backed Hezbollah said on Monday that it had detonated “explosive devices” targeting Israeli soldiers who crossed into Lebanese territory.

In a statement, the group said its fighters planted explosive devices in the Tel Ismail area in southern Lebanon, near the border with Israel.

It said its fighters detonated the devices when a patrol of Israeli soldiers crossed into Lebanon and arrived at the area where the devices were planted. The group said the blasts led to “deaths and injuries”, although it did not provide any evidence.

An Israeli military official told the Reuters news agency that four Israeli troops were wounded in the overnight blast, which occurred hundreds of metres inside Lebanese territory.

“We confirm that the incident occurred inside Lebanon,” an Israeli army spokesperson told the AFP news agency.

It is the first time Hezbollah has claimed such an attack in more than six months of near-daily cross-border fire between the group and Israel since the start of Israel’s war on Gaza.

Reporting from Naqoura in southern Lebanon, Al Jazeera’s Ali Hashem said the attack was “an indication that the situation here is very sensitive”.

“This is not the first time that a bomb or a roadside bomb is being detonated … but this time [the blast] was really strong,” he said.

The incident comes amid soaring tensions after Iran launched missile and drone attacks against Israel on Saturday in retaliation for a deadly attack on Tehran’s consulate in Damascus early this month.

The violence flaring between Israel and Hezbollah has largely been contained to the border area.

Since October 8, when Hezbollah launched attacks on Israel in what it described as solidarity with the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, Israel has attacked it nearly 4,000 times along the 120km (75-mile) border.

Israeli attacks have killed at least 295 fighters from Hezbollah and other armed groups in Lebanon in the past six months as well as about 73 civilians, including children, medics and journalists.

According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), more than 90,000 people have been displaced by the fighting in southern Lebanon.

On the Israeli side, residents of 28 towns and villages within 2km (1.2 miles) of the border were told to evacuate.

Hezbollah says its military operations against Israel will continue until the Israeli assault on Gaza stops.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies