Israel says Lebanese army sniper kills soldier on border

An Israeli soldier aims his weapon towards Palestinian protesters close to the Israeli Ofer military prison, near the West Bank village of Betunia, on November 22, 2013 following a demonstration against the expropriation of Palestinian land by Israel. (Photo: AFP - Abbas Momani)

Published Monday, December 16, 2013

An Israeli soldier was killed by a Lebanese army sniper on Sunday night, Israel's army said in a statement.

"The Israel Defense Forces officially confirms that an IDF soldier was shot while driving along the Israeli-Lebanese border, near Rosh Hanikra," it said in the statement released early Monday, using the Israeli name for the Ras Naqoura border crossing.

"The soldier was treated at the scene and was then evacuated to a hospital. He later died of his wounds."

"Initial inquiry confirmed that the sniper is a member of the Lebanese Armed Forces."

The army earlier claimed that a Lebanese soldier had opened fire on an Israeli civilian vehicle near the border crossing.

Israeli news website Ynet, quoting army sources, said that the Lebanese soldier had fired six or seven rounds, probably "acting on his own initiative."

In Lebanon, the official National News Agency reported that "a Lebanese army unit opened fire at an Israeli army unit this evening at the border, near the Naqoura border post."

UNIFIL spokesman Andrea Tinenti said that his force was informed about a "serious" border incident and was trying to establish the facts.

"The situation is ongoing and the UNIFIL force commander is in contact with counterparts, urging restraint," he told AFP.

While there have been sporadic exchanges of fire with Syrians across the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights since the eruption of Syria's civil war, incidents on the Lebanese border have been rare since Israel's 2006 assault on Lebanon.

On Thursday, the Israeli army said that shots were fired across the frontier by what it called Lebanese "hunters." No casualties were reported.

In August, four Israeli soldiers were wounded in a blast 400 meters inside Lebanese territory after they crossed the border while attempting to carry out a mission, Lebanon's army and a UN peacekeeper in the border region said.

Hezbollah took credit for the explosion, its first such claim since the 2006 war.

(AFP, Al-Akhbar)

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