4 Israeli Troops Injured in Lebanon Border Blast, Houla Forestland Set Ablazeإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
Four Israeli soldiers were injured in a landmine blast along the northern border with Lebanon, media reports said on Wednesday.
A Lebanese army communique said that the “Israeli patrol violated Lebanon's sovereignty."
"An infantry patrol of the Israeli army penetrated 400 meters inside Lebanon in the Labbouneh area at 00:24 local time," the statement said.
"An explosion took place and the soldiers were wounded, with blood found at the scene. A military committee has opened an investigation in coordination with UNIFIL," the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon, it said.
An Israeli military spokesperson said Wednesday that the soldiers were hurt during "overnight activity adjacent to the northern border." It did not say if they were injured in training or in combat, and refused to elaborate further.
Israeli media said that the three soldiers were taken into surgery and one is in the ICU.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said later that “Israel will continue to act responsibly to secure its border.”
Netanyahu during a tour of a military compound in the Negev wished the soldiers swift recovery.
According to the state-run National News Agency, a landmine explosion struck the soldiers' patrol, which crossed into Lebanon's southern border and advanced 150 meters inside the Lebanese border village of Labbouneh.
Caretaker Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour commented on Wednesday's event, slamming the incursion as a violation of U.N. resolution 1701.
He also assured that Lebanon will file a complaint with the U.N. Security Council.
Media reports said earlier that that two explosions in Israeli territory were heard in Naqoura overnight, followed by sporadic gunshots and illumination bombs by the Israeli army.
However, Lebanese security officials said that seven explosions were heard from the Israeli side of the border.
Later on Wednesday, Israeli troops at the al-Abbad border post deliberately set fire to forestlands in the Lebanese town of Houla, NNA said.
Civil Defense crews and Lebanese soldiers were exerting efforts to extinguish the flames, it added.
Earlier, al-Manar television said Israeli forces set ablaze the oak forests in Houla.
"An Israeli field operations room went up in flames in the al-Abbad border area facing the Fatima Gate," Voice of Lebanon radio (100.5) said.
"Lebanese and Israeli army units went on alert on both sides of the border in the South after Israeli troops set on fire forestland in Houla," Voice of Lebanon radio (93.3) reported.
Later on Wednesday, UNIFIL said it has opened an investigation into “the incident involving an explosion that injured several (Israeli) soldiers.”
In a statement issued to the press, the U.N. force said it was informed by the Lebanese army that an Israeli patrol had crossed the U.N.-demarcated Blue Line last night in Labbouneh and that there had subsequently been an explosion.
“UNIFIL immediately launched an investigation into the alleged violation of Security Council Resolution 1701,” which ended the 2006 war between Israel and Hizbullah, the statement said.
“A UNIFIL investigation team is currently at the location indicated by LAF. Our effort is to ascertain if any traces of a possible explosion or other activity can be identified on the ground,” the mission stated.
“At the same time, we have asked the IDF (Israeli army) to provide us details of any incident in the area as alleged and, if so, its precise location,” UNIFIL added.