Hezbollah attacks Israeli troops on Lebanon border

Posted at 9:24 AM, Jan 04, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-04 10:24:15-05

BEIRUT (AP) — Lebanese militant group Hezbollah attacked an Israeli armored vehicle with a roadside bomb along the border Monday and Israel responded with artillery fire.

Hezbollah said it set off a large explosive device as an armored patrol passed in the disputed Chebaa Farms area, destroying a Humvee and causing casualties among the soldiers inside.

The Israeli army said vehicles in the area were hit with an improvised explosive device and that it responded with targeted artillery fire. It did not say whether there were any casualties.

Lebanese security officials said more than 50 Israeli shells hit several villages in the area where the Hezbollah operation was carried out. Residents along the border said shelling from Israeli tanks and artillery landed in agricultural areas inside Lebanon, but did not report casualties.

The officials said the patrol was hit near an Israeli army position in the Kfar Chouba hills that Lebanon says is Lebanese land occupied by Israel. The residents requested anonymity, saying they feared for their safety, while the officials did so in line with regulations. Neither group had any immediate word on casualties.

The Hezbollah unit that carried out the bombing was named after Samir Kuntar, a high-profile figure in the group who was killed last month in Syria in an attack blamed on Israel.

Hezbollah has vowed to avenge the killing of Kuntar, who was the longest serving Lebanese prisoner in Israel before he was released in 2008 in exchange for the bodies of two Israeli soldiers killed in a cross-border raid two years earlier.