Hezbollah targets Israeli forces with bomb, Israel shells south Lebanon
BEIRUT - Reuters
AFP photoHezbollah said it set off a bomb targeting Israeli forces at the Lebanese border on Jan. 4 in an apparent response to the killing in Syria last month of a prominent commander, triggering Israeli shelling of southern Lebanon.
Israel's army said the blast targeted military vehicles in the Shebaa farms area, and that Israeli forces responded with artillery fire. It made no mention of casualties.
The explosive device was detonated in the Shebaa farms area, Hezbollah said in a statement. Lebanese media said Israeli shelling had hit the nearby town of Al Wazzani and other areas, with initial reports of injuries and damage to homes.
Hezbollah's statement named the group that had carried out the attack after Samir Qantar. The Iranian-backed Shi'ite group has accused Israel of killing Qantar in air strike in Syria, and vowed to retaliate.
"The martyr leader Samir Qantar group detonated a large explosive device on an Israeli patrol in the Shebaa farms... which destroyed an Israeli vehicle... and injured those inside it," Hezbollah said.
Witnesses said at least 10 Israeli shells had hit Al Wazzani shortly after the blast, causing material damage.
Lebanese New TV said in a newsflash there had been reports of injuries from the shelling.
Hezbollah is fighting on the side of President Bashar al-Assad in Syria's civil war. Syrian state media said Qantar was involved in a major offensive earlier this year in Quneitra, near the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.