Israeli, Lebanese troops exchange fire
Israeli and Lebanese troops exchanged fire on Israel’s northern border; no Israeli soldiers were injured.
The gunfight is the first skirmish on the Israel-Lebanon border since May when Nakba Day protesters attempted to breach Israel’s border. Ten protesters died and more than 100 were injured in that incident.
On Monday morning, Lebanese soldiers opened fire at Israel Defense Forces paratroopers who were on patrol and Israeli forces returned fire, according to reports, some of which say that the paratroopers were taking part in a training exercise. Lebanon says that the Israeli soldiers had entered their territory.
Lebanese sources say one of its soldiers was hurt, but the UNIFIL peacekeeping force has reported that there were no injuries. UNIFIL is investigating the incident but reportedly said that Israeli troops had not crossed into Lebanese territory.
“Israel is not looking to inflame the border,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said following the clash, during a meeting of the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee. He asserted that the soldiers acted appropriately, saying: “There was an incident, the soldiers in the area acted as necessary. They are determined to protect themselves and the border.”
Lebanese President Michel Suleiman said following the incident that Israel was “renewing its aggression” on the border.
The border remained quiet following the incident.