Explosion along Lebanese-Israeli border injures 3 members of militant group Hezbollah

BEIRUT (AP) — An explosion near Lebanon’s border with Israel lightly injured at least three members of the Hezbollah militant group, a Lebanese security official said.

The three Hezbollah operatives were taken to a hospital near the site of the blast in the village of Bustan, in Lebanon’s southern Bustan province, the official said on condition of anonymity in accordance with regulations.

The IDF said a number of suspects “approached the northern security fence with Lebanon and attempted to sabotage the security fence in the area.” He added that the Israeli army immediately spotted the suspects and used means to drive them away. The identity of the suspects is unknown, he said. He released surveillance footage showing four people in civilian clothes approaching the border fence and fleeing after the blast.

The incident took place hours before Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah was to speak to commemorate the start of a month-long war between Israel and the militant group in 2006, which ended by a draw.

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said the military “deterred the militants with non-lethal means”. The military told The Associated Press that the soldiers’ blast came from a stun grenade used to push them back.

“Anyone who tries us will get an answer,” Gallant said. “We have a lot to do and we will be able to do what is needed at the right time.”

UN peacekeeping forces along Lebanon’s southern border, known as UNIFIL, said they were investigating the situation.

“In the meantime, the situation is extremely serious,” UNIFIL said. “We urge everyone to cease any action that could lead to an escalation of any kind.”

Hezbollah had no immediate comment on the incident.

Lebanese officials said Israel had in recent weeks built a wall around the Lebanese side of Ghajar, a border town straddling the small Mediterranean country and the Israeli-occupied Syrian Golan Heights. The Lebanese Foreign Minister has asked the country’s permanent mission to the United Nations to file a complaint about it.

Meanwhile, Israel filed a complaint with the UN in June claiming that Hezbollah had set up tents several tens of meters (yards) inside Israeli territory. It is not known what the tents were used for and what was inside. They were erected in the Shebaa Farms and Kfar Shuba Hills, which the Israelis captured from Syria in the 1967 Middle East War and annexed in 1981, although Lebanon claims the area is theirs.

Israel views Hezbollah as its most serious immediate threat and estimates it has some 150,000 rockets and missiles aimed at Israel.


Josef Federman and Julia Frankel contributed reporting from Jerusalem.

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