iaf strikes lebanon 298..
(photo credit: Associated Press)
A tense calm prevailed along Israel's northern border on Saturday, after a United Nations brokered cease-fire continued to hold after Hizbullah fired over 40 mortar shells and rockets at IDF positions on Mount Dov on Friday. One soldier was lightly wounded in the attack that lasted close to two hours.
In response, IDF artillery units intensively shelled Hizbullah positions in southern Lebanon, identified as the sites from where the rockets and mortars were fired. In addition, IAF warplanes bombed five Hizbullah positions including locations where artillery batteries had been set up by the terrorist movement.
Reports from Lebanon said Israel targeted sites near the villages of Chouba, Hamam and Halta near the Shaba Farm.There were no reports of casualties.
The Mount Hermon skiing site was shut down and visitors evacuated from the site during the attack. On Saturday, the site was reopened for business.
In recent months, Hizbullah has issued a number of warnings threatening to abduct IDF soldiers. In light of the outcome of the recent Palestinian legislative elections, security officials have not ruled out the possibility that Hizbullah will attempt to escalate its activities and resume attacks on Israel.
Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz noted last week that ever since the Hizbullah attack on Ghajar in November in an attempt to abduct IDF soldiers, Hizbullah appeared to be beefing up its activities and preparing for future attacks against Israel. He also warned that Israel will not think twice about responding to such attempts.
Following Friday's attack, the IDF declared it holds Lebanon responsible for dealing with attacks eminating from within its borders.
Shortly after the violence erupted, Lebanon lodged a complaint with the United Nations asking it intervene. Later, United Nations spokeswoman Stephane Dujarric said following contacts with Israel and Lebanon, troops from the United Nations Interim Forces in Lebanon (UNIFIL) were patrolling the area to ensure that the cease-fire holds.
Hizbullah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah maintained that Friday's attack was to "punish" Israel for killing Ibrahim Rahil, a 17-year-old shepherd, on Wednesday afternoon.
Israel insists that a Lebanese gunman strayed 200 meters inside Israel and opened fire at IDF troops before he was shot dead.
Speaking to reporters on Friday, Nasrallah declared that "militarily we were ready to take action immediately, but we postponed our attack to allow the Lebanese government to do its job on the diplomatic front and out of respect for Rahil's funeral."
Nasrallah declared that Hizbullah chose the moment of attack and fired 500 rounds of artillery and rockets of all sizes "within the first 45 minutes."
On Friday, UNIFIL completed a probe into Wednesday's shooting incident and called on all sides to show restraint and respect the blue line drawn up by the UN after Israel's withdrawal from Lebanon in May 2000 that bars either side from crossing it.
A report in Lebanon's Daily Star newspaper, however, quoted an unidentified UN representative accusing Israel of seriously violating the blue line in Wednesday's incident during a meeting with Nabih Berri, speaker of the Lebanese parliament.