Israel Shells Lebanon in Response to Mortar Attack
Mortar bombs fired from southern Lebanon landed near a military post in northern Israel early Wednesday, triggering a response from Israeli gunners, correspondents said.
Lebanese police said more than 50 Israeli tank and artillery shells rained down on the hamlet of Bastara near the disputed Shabaa farms area in an hour-long bombardment.
Israeli troops captured the Shabaa farms from Syria in 1967 and still hold them, though Beirut now says they are Lebanese territory and should have been evacuated by the Israelis when they withdrew from southern Lebanon in May after 22 years of occupation.
Lebanese goatherd Qassem Zahra told AFP by telephone that a dozen shells had fallen around his farm, killing several animals.
A helicopter and a pilotless reconnaissance drone had flown over the area before the bombardment, the heaviest since Lebanese Hizbollah guerrillas captured three Israeli soldiers in a raid on the Shabaa farms in October.
On Tuesday, an Israeli civilian working for the army was badly wounded, apparently by a sniper firing from across the border, an Israeli military source said.
It was not immediately known who fired the mortars -- KIRYAT SHMONA, Lebanon (AFP)
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