Israeli soldier shot dead near Lebanon border

 

An Israeli soldier has been killed by shots fired from across the Lebabon border, the Israeli military has said.

It said a sniper from the Lebanese Armed Forces shot at an Israeli vehicle near the Rosh Hanikra border on Sunday night. Gunfire was exchanged near the village of Naqoura, at around 8.30pm on Sunday night.

It is not clear what the target of the shooting was although local media reports speculated that Israeli troops had crossed the border.

A United Nations peacekeeping force said it was working with both sides to “determine the facts of what happened” and keep the incident from escalating.

“A sniper from Lebanese Armed Forces opened fire at a civilian vehicle travelling on the Israeli side,” an Israeli army spokesperson told Reuters. “We will not tolerate aggression against the state of Israel and maintain the right to exercise self-defence.”

Lebanese sources told the news agency they had lost contact with the Lebanese soldier after the shooting, which took place at the western tip of the border region, across which Israel and Hezbollah fought a 34-day war in 2006. There was suspicion that the sniper was being held by Israeli troops, reported the Israeli daily, Haaretz.

“We are now trying to determine the facts of what happened and the situation is ongoing,” said a spokeswoman for the United National Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL). “UNIFIL’s force commander is in contact with counterparts in the Lebanese and Israeli army, urging restraint.”

In August, four Israeli soldiers on patrol were wounded in a blast 400 metres inside Lebanese territory.

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