Heavy clashes on Israel - Lebanon border stopped upon Beirut request
Sunday was a day of heavy clashes on the Israeli - Lebanese border. Following a request from the Lebanese government, United Nations peace-keepers brokered a cease-fire early Sunday evening, ending a day of cross-border clashes in which two Israeli soldiers were wounded, and two fighters in Lebanon were killed.
In the afternoon, Israeli troops and fighters likely from Hizbullah traded heavy fire across the length of the Israel-Lebanon border, leading Israel to order local residents into shelters.
Israeli jets and Israeli artillery bombarded southern Lebanese border areas, witnesses and the Israeli sources said, as Hizbullah fighters struck across the frontier with mortar shells and small arms fire. One Israeli soldier was reported wounded.
On his part, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert issued a warning that Israel would react "harshly" if the attacks across the border continued. Speaking after a meeting with President Moshe Katsav, Olmert said that "the [current] Israeli response is a serious warning to Palestinian elements in Lebanon, of what will happen if the shooting continues."
According to Haaretz, he said that "Israel hoped that the warning would be understood and the fire would cease." If there was no halt in the shooting, Olmert concluded, there would be a "very harsh response" by Israel.
Earlier, Israeli warplanes attacked two Palestinian military bases in Lebanon on Sunday, witnesses and a security source said. The airstrike came hours after rockets fired into northern Israel wounded an Israeli soldier. A Palestinian fighter was killed and five other fighters were wounded, two of them seriously, reports in Lebanon said.
Israeli security sources said at least four Israeli rockets were fired at a base run by the Syrian-backed Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestinian-General Command near the town of Sultan Yaacob in the Bekaa Valley. They then targeted a base in Naameh, some 10 kilometers south of the Lebanese capital.
It all started when Lebanese resistance fighters fired a barrage of rockets into northern Israel early Sunday, injuring an Israeli soldier at a large military base, the israeli army said. The soldier's injuries were described as light to moderate.
According to the AP, a number of rockets landed inside Israel, military officials said. Israel's Army Radio reported that a barrage of 122mm Katyushas were fired at a base near Safed.
The Israeli side said it held Lebanon responsible for the attack. On Sunday morning, senior Israeli officers were meeting to discuss the response.