Fighting broke out at Lebanon’s southern border following a reported missile attack on Israeli forces launched by Hezbollah, Reuters reported.
On Monday afternoon, the news organization said that Hezbollah carried out an operation against the Israeli army in the Shebaa Farms area.
The operation, which consequently prompted Israeli forces to fire artillery shells at some targets in southern Lebanon, reportedly targeted an Israeli armored vehicle with a guided missile.
Initial reports said that an exchange of fire followed the attack as the Israeli military ordered residents near the border with Lebanon to avoid leaving their houses and to suspend the use of vehicles for unnecessary reasons.
Following the incident, Israeli military aircraft was heard flying at low altitudes over the Shebaa Farms region.
In response to what he said was “not a simple event,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared that Hezbollah and Lebanon bear responsibility for the attack.
On the other hand, Lebanese Foreign Minister Nassif Hitti affirmed that “Lebanon has the right to defend itself against any Israeli aggression on its soil.”
“Lebanon is committed to UN Security Council Resolution 1701 in full force and remains committed to UNIFIL forces in southern Lebanon as they are, and also to their tasks without any alteration,” he added.
In turn, UNIFIL Spokesperson Andrea Tenenti stated: “UNIFIL Head of Mission and Force Commander Major-General Stefano Del Col is in contact with both parties to assess the situation and curb tension, and continues to urge the parties to exercise the utmost restraint.”
The violence appeared to abate around an hour after its eruption as local media reported fires in some of the areas that were targeted by Israeli artillery.
Reports said that this attack comes after Israel’s recent airstrike on Syria, which killed one of Hezbollah‘s fighters.
However, a few hours after the incident, Hezbollah released a statement denying its involvement in any fighting or military operations on Monday.
The statement affirmed that the conflict involved “only one side which is the fearful, anxious, and tense enemy,” and promised that the retaliation for the killing of its fighter is “inevitably coming.”
Notably, an Israeli artillery shell crashed into a civilian’s house in the village of Habbariyeh without exploding, the National News Agency reported.
As of the time of writing, no casualties have been reported from the incident.