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September 1, 2019 12:05 pm

IDF Launches Retaliatory Strikes After Hezbollah Fires Anti-Tank Missiles at Military Positions in Northern Israel

avatar by Benjamin Kerstein

Smoke rises from the site of an IDF retaliatory strike in southern Lebanon. September 9, 2019. Photo: screenshot.

The Israel Defense Forces and Lebanon-based terror group Hezbollah exchanged cross-border fire on Sunday after a week of rising tension in the region.

“Anti-tank missiles fired from Lebanon hit IDF military positions in northern Israel. We returned fire toward the source of the attack in southern Lebanon,” the IDF said on its official Twitter feed on Sunday afternoon.

According to Hebrew news website Mako, the initial Hezbollah attack took place near the northern Israeli moshav Avivim. Three to four rockets were fired in total.

An IDF vehicle was reportedly the target and there was damage as a result of the attack. The IDF responded with tank and artillery fire.

Lebanese media sources reported that the projectiles used by Hezbollah were Kornet anti-tank missiles and that the IDF response included at least 30 retaliatory strikes.

Israeli communities up to four kilometers from the border were told to open their bomb shelters.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated, “I have held consultations with the chief of staff and IDF generals … We were attacked with several anti-tank missiles, and responded with a hundred shells and fire from the air by various means.”

“We are in consultation regarding what comes next,” he added.

“My instructions are to be prepared for any scenario,” the prime minister said. “At this moment I can announce important news — we have no one injured, not injured and not even scratched.”

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin issued a statement saying, “All those who seek to harm us know that we are ready and willing to protect the citizens of Israel.”

“We are ready, and do not want to show you how ready,” he added. “Quiet will only prevail if it exists on both sides of the border.”

Benny Gantz, the former IDF chief of staff and co-head of the leading opposition party, Blue and White, said, “The government of Lebanon should know that it will bear the responsibility for all terrorist activities undertaken on its soil.”

“We know that the IDF and security forces are prepared for any challenge and it isn’t recommended for anyone to test us,” he added.

“Regarding action against anyone who tries to hurt the citizens of Israel or its sovereignty, there is no opposition and coalition,” Gantz asserted. “In light of the security situation, I have issued instructions to freeze the [election] campaign at this stage until the security events become clear.”

President Donald Trump’s special Mideast envoy Jason Greenblatt expressed the administration’s support for Israel, tweeting, “The US stands w/ Israel & fully supports its right to defend itself against all attacks.”

Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri reportedly requested that France, the US, and the UN intervene to prevent further escalation. The international peacekeeping force in southern Lebanon, UNIFIL, also asked both sides to restrain themselves.

According to Israeli news website Walla, Ali Shamkhani, head of the Supreme National Security Council of Iran, said that the attack was a “retaliatory action by the axis of resistance.”

Hezbollah’s policies, he asserted, are “based on the defense of Lebanon’s interests.”

Iran is Hezbollah’s strongest supporter and uses the terror group to exercise significant control over Lebanon and Syria.

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