Israeli Army, Lebanese Soldiers Exchange Shots At Border

Tensions continue to flare after Israeli army soldiers shot two Lebanese troops Monday morning. The assault was in response to the shooting of an Israeli soldier several hours beforehand. The Israeli soldier died after a Lebanese sniper shot connected with a vehicle driving on the Israeli side of the border.

While the two nations have been technically at war since 1948, a fragile peace has existed between Israel and Lebanon since 2006. At that time, seven years ago, hostilities led to a month-long conflict. An official with Israeli defense forces says they have no wish to escalate their response. However, the country is in a state of heightened military preparedness.

The ongoing incident began after the death of 31-year-old Shlomi Cohen. He was shot near Rosh Hanikra, a tourist area. Lebanese military officials say they are uncertain why their sniper opened fire on the Israeli soldier. They say the sniper faces questioning, and say they hope to find an explanation. Hezbollah forces do not seem to have been involved.

The early morning shooting of two Lebanese troops followed Israeli reports of “suspicious movement” near the border after midnight Sunday. The site of the confrontation was close to where the sniper had opened fire hours before. An Israeli military official says the Lebanese soldiers were connected to the sniper incident hours before. The condition of the injured soldiers is unknown at this time.

A spokesman for the Israeli army says that they will “not tolerate aggression” and reserves the “right to exercise self-defense.” Israel has also filed complaints about the “outrageous breach of Israel’s sovereignty” with UN forces stationed in Lebanon. Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon will be meeting an envoy from the UN to demand accountability for the incident. He says that Lebanon is “responsible for what happens on their side” of the border, as far as Israel and the Israeli army is concerned.

[Image via Israel Defense Forces via photopin cc]