Hizbullah strikes IDF outposts
Hizbullah opens fire at IDF outposts on Israel's northern border Friday, army choppers strike targets in southern Lebanon in response. One soldier lightly wounded in incident. Army sources say strikes were halted after Lebanon relayed request through U.N. for a cease fire
IDF troops responded to the attack with artillery while army gunships hit Hizbullah targets in southern Lebanon. Army officials said northern residents were not instructed to head into bomb shelters, as the attack was only directed at military posts for the time being.
However, troops in the area are on high alert in case Hizbullah fires more mortar shells, or possibly Katyusha rockets, at Israeli targets.
By early evening hours, a tense quiet prevailed in the area.
A high ranking Northern Command officer told Ynet Lebanon relayed a request to Israel through the United Nations Friday, asking the country to halt strikes on southern Lebanon.
Israel complied with the request and the attacks were consequently suspended.
Hizbullah's al-Manar television channel reported that the shooting was carried out in retaliation for the killing of a young Lebanese near the border by IDF soldiers on Wednesday.
Hizbullah's leader Hassan Nasrallah pledged Thursday the organization will avenge the young man's death.
Last Wednesday an IDF force has identified an armed terrorist moving from Lebanon in the direction of Israel. The man opened fire at the troops, who shot back and hit the gunman.
Following the incident, the army maintained high alert in the area for fear that Hizbullah would retaliate by firing Katyusha rockets or mortar shells. The Northern Command has been on high alert for a while now for fear that Hizbullah would attempt to kidnap soldiers once again.
IDF responds with artillery (Photo: Avihu Shapira)
According to military sources, the terrorist who was hit Wednesday was also equipped with observation means, "and might have been trying to gather intelligence information on IDF soldiers' presence in the area."
The Northern Command is currently looking into the incident's circumstances, including why the terrorist opened fire. The army is also checking whether the terrorist fired at the soldiers after he was spotted or beforehand, and whether he operated on his own or as part of a group.
Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz said this week that Hizbullah, which is being operated by Syria and Iran, plans to carry out "an additional round of escalation. We are looking for signs and preparing for them."
He added that "Hizbullah may carry out escalating moves in an attempt to shift the attention from the strategic situation of Syria, which is stuck up to its neck in the probe into the murder of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri."
Hagai Einav, Hanan Greenberg and Ali Waked and Roee Nahmias contributed to the report