JERUSALEM, Jan. 28 (UPI) — Two soldiers were killed and seven wounded Wednesday by a Hezbollah anti-tank missile launched at an Israeli military vehicle on the Israel-Lebanon border.
The missile firing, into territory disputed by the two countries, prompted Israel to respond by firing shells into southern Lebanon. Escalating incidents at the border in the past two weeks have prompted fears a full-scale war may erupt.
There were earlier reports of attempts to abduct Israeli soldiers and of a U.N. peacekeeper being killed in the exchange of gunfire. Lebanon’s National News Agency said the peacekeeper, from Spain, was wounded by Israeli fire; Hezbollah’s news channel reported his death.
Israel fired at least 20 shells into Lebanon. And the National News Agency said both sides continued firing rockets and artillery for hours.
Following Hezbollah attacks earlier today, the IDF responded with combined aerial and ground strikes at Hezbollah operational positions.
— Israel Defense Forces (@IDF) January 28, 2015
“At this moment the IDF responds to events in the North. We will not allow terrorists to disrupt the lives of our citizens and threaten their security,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a tweet. “We will respond forcefully those who try to challenge us.”
Although the Israeli military offered few details, Hezbollah, the Lebanese militia regarded by the United States and others as a terrorist organization, said the attack was a retaliation for an earlier attack by Israel.