Unknown group claims blast that injured two Israeli soldiers on Lebanese border; Israel blames Hizbullah
Two Israeli troops were seriously injured Sunday morning, when the armored personnel carrier they were travelling in hit a roadside mine close to the border with Lebanon.
The device exploded as an Israeli patrol close to the Israeli settlement of Zar'it. The initial Israeli assessment was that Hizbullah, or another Palestinian group operating in the area, planted the bomb, Haaretz reported.
The chief of the Israel Army's northern command said that Hizbullah at least had knowledge of the bomb. "Nothing in this area happens without the approval of Hizbullah... Nothing happens here without the knowledge of this organization and without the knowledge and responsibility of Lebanon," he told Israel Radio.
"Lebanon has to choose between living in peace and living with extremist, fundamentalist, terrorist groups who live with different game rules," the Israeli officer added. "The activation of a bomb in this area, on the fence, shows only a desire to cause more damage and bring further escalation."
Timur Goksel, spokesman for a U.N. peacekeeping force in southern Lebanon, said the United Nations was aware of an explosion at the border and was investigating.
Hizbullah's Al-Manar television reported that Lebanese living in the region heard a loud explosion. Lebanese security officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the explosion occurred about 8:15 A.M. across the border from the western Lebanese villages of Marwahin and Ramieh near the Mediterranean coast.
The security officials said Israeli soldiers went on alert and put helicopters in the air after the blast.
A previously unknown group claimed responsibility for the blast. A representative from the organization said the attack was in revenge for a car bombing on Friday that killed Ramzi Nahara, 45, a former Lebanese intelligence agent who had worked for Hizbullah, and his nephew, Elie Issa, 30, a member of the Lebanese security forces. (Albawaba.com)
© 2002 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)