Tension high along Israel’s northern frontier after Hezbollah fighter killed in apparent Israeli air strike in Syria.
The Israeli military said a there was a “security incident” on Israel’s northern border with Lebanon on Monday and its forces were engaged in “ongoing combat”.
Israel’s N12 TV News first reported an exchange of fire between Israeli forces and fighters and said a series of explosions were heard in the area.
Reuters news agency, quoting unnamed sources familiar with situation, said the Lebanese group Hezbollah carried out an operation on Monday against the Israeli army in the disputed Shebaa Farms area.
“Following the security incident in the Mount Dov area … residents are asked to stay in their houses. Any kind of activity in open areas is forbidden,” an Israeli army statement said.
The restrictions apply to “the residents of the area along the Israeli side of the Blue Line” that separates Lebanon from Israel, it added.
There was no immediate statement by Hezbollah.
A resident of the town of Khiam, some 5km (2 miles) from Lebanon’s southern border, told Al Jazeera she heard about two dozen explosions and witnessed large columns of smoke rising near Mount Hermon.
Syria air strike
Tension has risen along the Israel’s northern frontier with Lebanon and Syria, including the occupied Golan Heights, after a Hezbollah fighter was killed in an apparent Israeli air strike on the edge of Damascus last Monday.
Speaking in parliament, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the government was closely following developments in the north.
“The military is prepared for every scenario,” he said. “We operate in all the arenas for Israel’s defence – close to our borders and far from our borders.”
The Israeli military said on Thursday it was sending reinforcements to its northern frontier “in accordance with a situational assessment”.
The Shebaa Farms area was captured by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war and is claimed by Lebanon.
The last exchange of fire between Hezbollah and Israel took place in September 2019, when the Lebanese armed group launched rockets across the southern border at an Israeli vehicle, and Israel responded by shelling border areas. There were no confirmed casualties.
That attack came in response to an Israeli drone attack on Beirut’s southern suburbs, a Hezbollah stronghold.