Israel-Lebanon: Air Strikes and Exchange of Fire

IDF fires at targets inside Lebanon after anti-tank missile lands near Israeli border town

1 Sep, 2019

The Israeli military has reportedly engaged in a cross-border exchange of fire, after an anti-tank missile – said to have come from Lebanon – landed near an Israeli border town.

“A number of anti-tank missiles were fired from Lebanon towards an Israel Defense Forces base and military vehicles. A number of hits have been confirmed,” the IDF said in a statement on Sunday, adding that the Israeli military is “responding with fire towards the sources of fire and targets in southern Lebanon.”

An IDF spokesman said later in the afternoon that while hostilities appeared to be over, Israeli forces remain on alert.

Tensions between Israel and Lebanon have increased, following a series of Israeli drone excursions into Lebanese territory.

Earlier on Sunday, the Lebanese military said an Israeli drone violated Lebanon’s airspace and dropped incendiary material, sparking a fire in a pine forest near the border.

In late August, the Lebanese Army said it opened fire on Israeli drones that “breached” its airspace near the southern border.

The alleged attack was preceded by reports of two Israeli “suicide” drones that crashed near the Lebanese capital last week. It’s believed that the drones were attempting to target Hezbollah facilities.

Hezbollah has vowed to retaliate, saying that such attacks will “not be tolerated” and that “Israel must pay a price.” 

The United Nations peacekeeping force in Lebanon, meanwhile, urged “restraint,” a similar call to the ones it made following each preceding escalation.

With the situation along his country’s southern border deteriorating, Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri on Sunday called US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and an adviser to French President Emmanuel Macron, asking for their intervention. Hosting Hariri in Washington two weeks ago, Pompeo pledged US support to “credible state institutions inside Lebanon,” while Hariri called a US-proposed maritime border solution between Israel and Lebanon “credible.”

In dealing with Lebanon, the US has walked a line between supporting the country’s government, and sanctioning Hezbollah, whose political wing is represented in the Lebanese parliament. Hezbollah’s military and political wings are considered a terrorist organization by the United States, but not in Russia and the majority of European countries.

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