In a rare apology, the Israel Defense Forces on Wednesday expressed regret over an accidental attack that killed a Lebanese soldier while targeting a Hezbollah-affiliated post and said the incident was being investigated.
Since the war in Gaza between Hamas militants and Israel broke out on October 7, clashes on Israel’s northern border with Lebanon and regular exchanges of fire have intensified.
Israeli forces responded primarily to attacks by the Shiite group Hezbollah, which is backed by Iran. Iran claimed it had no knowledge of the Oct. 7 attack and described its origins and execution as local.
In addresses to his supporters, faction leader Hasan Nasrallah has distanced his organization and its Iranian leaders from any responsibility for the Oct. 7 incident but expressed support for Hamas, raising fears of a possible wider conflagration in the region.
Israel has issued dire warnings but taken all possible steps to contain the escalation on its northern border. Several communities and townships near the northern border were also evacuated.
“An army military position in… was bombed by the Israeli enemy, martyring one soldier and injuring three others,” the Lebanese army said in a statement.
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said in posts on the social media platform
Another post said that “the IDF has received a report that a number of Lebanese Army soldiers were injured during the attack.”
“The Lebanese Armed Forces were not the target of the attack,” it said, adding: “The IDF regrets the incident and is under investigation.”
The surprise response is a clear sign that Israel wants to limit its fighting on Lebanese territory and keep other ethnic groups that do not support or oppose Hezbollah out of the conflagration.
According to political commentators, Hezbollah has created a state within a state and its army is considered stronger than the national army.
The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), which has been stationed in southern Lebanon since 1978 and is tasked with maintaining peace through various UN resolutions, said in a statement that “the Lebanese Armed Forces have not engaged in conflict with Israel.”
“In recent days we have witnessed a rapid and alarming increase in violence,” UNIFIL said, calling for an end to the “cycle of violence that could have devastating consequences for people on both sides.”
Hezbollah says 79 of its members have been killed since the war broke out in southern Lebanon.
Six Israeli soldiers and three civilians have also been killed since the latest escalation following the October 7 Hamas attack.
The fighting has displaced tens of thousands from Israel’s northern communities, who are suffering rocket fire and grenade attacks from Hezbollah and allied Palestinian groups.
Lebanon, whose sharply divided ethnic demographics have led to internal civil wars in the past, is under constant threat of internal conflict caused by gnawing mistrust between its three major populations – Maronite Christians, Sunnis and Shiites.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
Source : www.ndtv.com