Friday, February 03, 2006

Hizbullah strikes IDF outposts


Hizbullah gunmen opened fire Friday at IDF outposts on Israel's northern border. Army forces responded with fire. One soldier was lightly injured in the shooting.

IDF helicopters struck several targets in southern Lebanon in response to the attacks.

Hizbullah's al-Manar television channel reported that the shooting was carried out in retaliation for the killing of a young Lebanese near the border by IDF soldiers on Wednesday.

Hizbullah's leader Hassan Nasrallah pledged Thursday the organization will avenge the young man's death.

Last Wednesday an IDF force has identified an armed terrorist moving from Lebanon in the direction of Israel. The man opened fire at the troops, who shot back and hit the gunman.

Following the incident, the army maintained high alert in the area for fear that Hizbullah would retaliate by firing Katyusha rockets or mortar shells. The Northern Command has been on high alert for a while now for fear that Hizbullah would attempt to kidnap soldiers once again.

According to military sources, the terrorist who was hit Wednesday was also equipped with observation means, "and might have been trying to gather intelligence information on IDF soldiers' presence in the area."

The Northern Command is currently looking into the incident's circumstances, including why the terrorist opened fire. The army is also checking whether the terrorist fired at the soldiers after he was spotted or beforehand, and whether he operated on his own or as part of a group.

Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz said this week that Hizbullah, which is being operated by Syria and Iran, plans to carry out "an additional round of escalation. We are looking for signs and preparing for them."

He added that "Hizbullah may carry out escalating moves in an attempt to shift the attention from the strategic situation of Syria, which is stuck up to its neck in the probe into the murder of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri."