Hezbollah rockets Israeli positions

Published August 30, 2002

KYRIAT SHMONA (Israel), Aug 29: Israel issued a stark warning to Lebanon and Syria on Thursday, following an attack by the Damascus-backed Lebanese militia Hezbollah, which wounded three soldiers, the first such incident in four months.

“I want to make it clear to the Syrians and the Lebanese that they are playing with fire” with such attacks, Israeli Defence Minister Binyamin Ben Eliezer said in a statement.

The hardline guerillas launched a mortar and rocket attack on Israeli army positions in the disputed Shebaa Farms area, which injured three Israeli soldiers, one seriously, army radio reported.

Two Israeli fighter bombers fired two air-to-surface missiles into an area near the Lebanese village of Kfarshuba facing the Shebaa Farms area, but there were no reports of casualties there, Lebanese police said.

At the same time, two Israeli helicopters combed the area, while Israeli artillery across the border pounded the same sector with about 20 heavy rounds, they said.

An army spokesman said it was the “most serious attack” by Hezbollah since April 26.

Hezbollah claimed the attack in a statement saying its fighters had “fired shells and opened automatic gunfire on positions of the Zionist army in the Shebaa Farms.”

Following Israel’s May 2000 troops withdrawal from southern Lebanon, Hezbollah vowed to continue its guerrilla attacks to “liberate” the Shebaa Farms, a mountainous territory seized by Israel from Syria in 1967 and claimed by Lebanon.

However, the small mountainous area where the borders of the three countries converge is considered by the United Nations as part of the Golan Heights and falls under resolutions 242 and 338 calling for a withdrawal to pre-1967 lines, and not resolution 425 which demanded an Israeli pullout from southern Lebanon.—AFP

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