(July 27, 2020 / JNS) The Israel Defense Forces successfully thwarted an infiltration attempt by an armed Hezbollah terror squad along the Lebanese-Israeli border.
According to reports on Monday afternoon local time, several Hezbollah fighters infiltrated Israeli territory and launched an attack on an Israel Defense Forces’ outpost. The IDF first identified them and opened fire once they crossed the international border. The IDF said the Hezbollah cell fled back into Lebanon.
IDF international spokesperson Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus told reporters by conference call on Monday that the incident is a “rolling event,” adding that “it is still an ongoing event.”
“The bottom line is that we were able to successfully thwart an attempt to infiltrate Israel from Mount Dov,” he said. “We don’t know what the specific purpose of the squad was. They crossed the Blue Line by a few meters. Our intelligence cameras spotted them as they moved close to the Blue Line. We monitored and tracked them, even though this is a vegetated area. Shortly after they crossed the Blue Line, we engaged and were able to thwart the attack.”
IDF ground forces first engaged with small-arms fire, and a firefight ensued. The squad was armed with assault rifles and may have been carrying other weapons, according to Conricus.
The IDF then directed tank fire at the squad, and artillery fire was used to create a smokescreen for defensive purposes. “It seems to have been a squad of between three and five people,” he said. “We confirmed visually that the terrorists fled back to Lebanon. We do not know if they had [any] wounded and killed [among them],” he said.
In a statement, the IDF said “we thwarted an infiltration attempt by a Hezbollah terror squad in northern Israel an hour ago. No injuries to IDF troops were reported. We continue to stand ready to defend Israel’s border from any enemy threat.”
The IDF confirmed that no Israelis were hurt, and that civilians in the area could return to their normal routines after an earlier lockdown.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the unfolding security situation.
“Our policy is clear. First, we will not allow Iran to entrench militarily on our border with Syria. This is the policy that I set years ago; we uphold it consistently. Second, Lebanon and Hezbollah will bear the responsibility for any attack against us emanating from Lebanese territory,” he said during a meeting of the Likud Party.
Netanyahu and Defense Minister Benny Gantz are headed to IDF headquarters in Tel Aviv for security consultations.
The incident along the border comes amid increased tensions over the last week between Israel and Hezbollah. Hezbollah had blamed Israel for the deaths of its fighters in a airstrike in Syria last week. On Sunday, an Israeli military surveillance drone also crashed in southern Lebanon.
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