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Hezbollah cell crossed into Israeli-controlled Mount Dov, military says, as the terror group seeks revenge over killing of its fighter in alleged Israeli strike last week
The Israel Defense Forces said it thwarted a Hezbollah attack in the Mount Dov area on Monday afternoon, opening fire at a number of fighters from the terror group that entered Israeli territory.
No Israeli soldiers were injured, and the IDF denied Lebanese media reports that a Kornet anti-tank guided missile was fired at an Israeli tank on Mount Dov, also known as Shebaa Farms, an area that Israel, Lebanon and Syria each claim as its own.
IDF Spokesperson Hidai Zilberman said at least some members of the Hezbollah cell fled back to Lebanon, but added: “We don’t know their conditions for sure at this point.”
The Hezbollah-affiliated Al-Mayadeen news outlet reports that no Hezbollah fighters were killed during the failed attack.
Though a tense calm returned to both sides of the border following the incident and all security restrictions on Israeli civilians were quickly lifted, Zilberman said the military considered the event to be ongoing, with the possibility of additional attacks. The military maintained its own roadblocks in the area, preventing IDF vehicles from traveling on certain highways along the border that were considered vulnerable to attack from Lebanon.
The attempted Hezbollah assault was in retaliation for the death of one of its fighters in an alleged Israeli airstrike in Syria last week, a member of the group told the Reuters news outlet after the attack.
Zilberman said the military did not yet know if Hezbollah would consider this failed attack to be a sufficient form of revenge, but that the IDF would remain on high alert for the time being.
“Tense and complicated days are before us,” he said.
Zilberman said it was not yet clear how many fighters were in the Hezbollah cell, but said it appeared to be three to five.
According to Zilberman, shortly after 3 p.m., the Hezbollah cell entered a few meters into Israeli territory, heading toward a military position on Mount Dov, before troops opened fire with machine guns, tanks and artillery cannons, driving them back into Lebanese territory.
Zilberman said the Hezbollah members were spotted by soldiers operating powerful security cameras shortly before they crossed the border and were tracked the entire time they were inside Israeli territory. Israeli defense officials later said the men were armed.
The spokesman said the IDF did not immediately know precisely what type of attack the Hezbollah cell intended to carry out in Israel, but that it was confident that the operatives were planning some type of assault.