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Hezbollah vows response to Israeli strike

Israeli airstrikes on Monday targeted a Hezbollah site near the Lebanese-Syrian border

Published: Updated:

Lebanese Shiite movement Hezbollah warned on Wednesday it will respond to Israel’s Monday night air strike.

"We will retaliate for this Israeli aggression, and the resistance will choose the appropriate time and place as well as appropriate means to respond,” the militant Shiite group stated.

In statements on Al-Manar television, the group said that the “aggression is a blatant assault on Lebanon and its sovereignty and its territory...The Resistance (Hezbollah) will choose the time and place and the proper way to respond to it.”

Security sources had told Al Arabiya News Channel late Monday that Israeli airstrikes targeted a site belonging to Hezbollah near the Lebanon-Syrian border.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the target was a Hezbollah "missile base."

The airstrike caused material damage but no casualties, according to a statement issued by Hezbollah.

Although Israel has yet to official confirm the attack and the Israeli military has declined to comment on Hezbollah’s accusations, senior defense officials speaking on the condition of anonymity confirmed that Israel had carried out an airstrike late Monday.

The Israeli army radio said late on Wednesday that troops along the border with Lebanon were on high alert after Hezbollah’s remarks.

“The military ordered farmers to stay away from the border... and there was movement of military vehicles around border communities,” the radio said.

The army itself did not make any statement.

Israel has fired artillery across the border, and carried out similar airstrikes inside Syria targeting suspected weapons shipments believed to be bound from Syria to Hezbollah in Lebanon.

The eastern Lebanon-Syrian border area is frequently used by smugglers and Lebanese security sources say the target of Israeli strikes in Syria may have been trucks of weapons destined for Hezbollah.

Israel has voiced alarm that amid the chaos of Syria's civil war, weapons could be transferred to Hezbollah, which is supporting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad fight an insurgency but has traditionally fought Israel.

Hezbollah, allied to President Bashar al-Assad in Syria, has been battling alongside his troops in areas near the border and has lost at least several hundred fighters.

Although Israel has refrained from taking sides in the Syrian civil war, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly vowed to take action to prevent Hezbollah from obtaining "game changing" weapons from its ally Syria. Past Israeli airstrikes are believed to have targeted Russian-made anti-aircraft missiles and guided missiles from Iran. Israel has never confirmed the airstrikes.

The Lebanese army reported that four Israeli planes had flown across north Lebanon on Monday night towards the Bekaa Valley before heading southwest towards the Mediterranean near Lebanon's southern border with Israel. Israeli jets regularly
fly through Lebanese airspace without permission.