In the afternoon of September 1, Hezbollah fighters destroyed a military vehicle of the Israeli military with an anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) near Avivim military post in Upper Galilee.
The Lebanese group said that the attack was carried out by a unit named after Hassan al-Zabib and Yasser Dahir, two of the group’s fighters who were killed in Israeli airstrikes on the Syrian capital, Damascus, last week.
Hezbollah said that several Israeli soldiers were killed or injured in the ATGM strike. However, this is yet to be confirmed.
Hezbollah-linked al-Manar TV channelhas released a video showing Hezbollah’s anti-tank guided missile strike on Israel’s Wolf armoured personnel carrier near Avivim in Upper Galilee. Hezbollah says that the vehicle was destroyed and several Israeli soldiers were killed or injured. Israel denies any casualties.
Hezbollah Reveals Video Of ATGM Strike On Israeli Armoured Personnel Carrier pic.twitter.com/VtzT7PNRMY
— Fighter jets World (@FJW_Aviation) September 3, 2019
In its first response, the Israeli military shelled several areas in southern Lebanon with dozens of artillery rounds.
“Anti-tank missiles fired from Lebanon hit IDF military positions in northern Israel. We returned fire toward the source of the attack in southern Lebanon,” the Israeli military said on Twitter.
Anti-tank missiles fired from Lebanon hit IDF military positions in northern Israel. We returned fire toward the source of the attack in southern Lebanon.
We will continue to update as the situation develops.
— Israel Defense Forces (@IDF) September 1, 2019
Both sides of the border had been bracing for confrontation after a threat by Hezbollah to retaliate for the killing of two of its commanders in an Israeli airstrike in Syria the previous weekend. The Hezbollah strike, which targeted an Israeli military vehicle, fulfilled that threat, Hezbollah’s Al-Manar TV station said.
The encounter was intense but limited, and abated after about an hour. Neither side reported casualties, and there were no immediate indications that a further escalation was imminent.
After Israel announced that it had stopped firing on Lebanon, there was relief that the widely predicted confrontation appeared to have been contained.
The exchange nonetheless showed the risk that long-running tensions between Israel and Iran, Hezbollah’s chief sponsor, could erupt into all-out war. It was the first exchange of fire across the tense Lebanese-Israeli border since Hezbollah and Israel fought a month-long war in 2006, and it threatened the fragile cease-fire that has held since then.
The situation along the separation line between Lebanon and Israel will likely escalate further in the upcoming few hours.