Jerusalem: Israel said it was returning fire Sunday after anti-tank missiles were launched at its territory from Lebanon, raising fears of a serious escalation with Hezbollah after a week of rising tensions.
“A number of anti-tank missiles were fired from Lebanon towards an (Israeli military) base and military vehicles,” an Israeli army statement said.
“A number of hits have been confirmed. (Israel’s military) is responding with fire towards the sources of fire and targets in southern Lebanon.”
After the initial reports of fire from Lebanon, a military spokesman called on Israelis living within four kilometres (2.5 miles) of the Lebanese border to remain at home and prepare shelters.
Tensions have risen in the last week between Israel and its enemy Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shiite movement backed by Iran.
Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah said Saturday the group’s response to an alleged Israeli drone attack on the group’s Beirut stronghold had been “decided”.
The pre-dawn August 25 attack involved two drones — one exploded and caused damage to a Hezbollah-run media centre and another crashed without detonating due to technical failure.
Israel has not claimed responsibility for the incident.
The attack in Lebanon came just hours after Israel launched strikes in neighbouring Syria to prevent what it said was an impending Iranian drone attack on the Jewish state.