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Call for ‘maximum restraint’ after Lebanon-Israel border clashes

AFP/Beirut

Monday، 27 July 2020 11:39 PM

United Nations peacekeeping force UNIFIL called for “maximum restraint” after clashes yesterday on the border between Lebanon and Israel, adding the firing had stopped.
An AFP correspondent reported Israeli artillery bombardment on the hills of Kfarchouba in the Shebaa Farms area near the Israeli position of Roueysaat al-Alam, and reported plumes of smoke rising above the area.
Lebanon and Israel are still technically at war and UNIFIL usually patrols the border between the two.
“Major General (Stefano) Del Col has been in contact with both parties to assess the situation and decrease tension while urging maximum restraint,” UNIFIL spokesman Andrea Tenenti said.
“The firing has now stopped,” he added. Hezbollah’s Al-Manar television channel said calm had returned to the area.
Hezbollah is a key political player in Lebanon, despite it being blacklisted by the United States. Its fighters support the Damascus regime in the civil war in neighbouring Syria.
Yesterday’s border exchange comes a week after an Israeli missile attack hit positions of Syrian regime forces and their allies south of Damascus on July 20, killing five.
Hezbollah said one of its own died in the raid.
Hezbollah number two Naim Qasim said in a televised interview on Sunday that “if the Israelis decide to launch a war, we will confront it and we will respond.” “What happened in Syria is an aggression, which led to the death of Ali Kamil Mohsen,” he said of last week’s strikes.
Israel has launched hundreds of strikes in Syria since the start of the country’s civil war in 2011.
Israel and Hezbollah last fought a 33-day war in Lebanon in the summer of 2006.
Later, Hezbollah denied any involvement in fighting yesterday on the Lebanon-Israel border after the Jewish state said it had repelled an infiltration attempt by “fighters”.
Hezbollah “confirms that it did not take part in any clash and did not open fire in today’s events until now”, it said in a statement.
“All that the enemy’s media is claiming about thwarting an infiltration operation from Lebanon into occupied Palestine... is completely false.”
It said no Hezbollah fighters were killed or wounded.
The Israeli army said a group of three to five men armed with rifles crossed the UN-demarcated Blue Line border in the disputed Mount Dov area, claimed by Lebanon, Syria and Israel. The bombardment hit a civilian home in the village of Hibariyyeh close to the border, according to Lebanese media.

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