- Lebanon Accuses Israel of Provoking Border Escalation
by BASSAM HATOUM, Associated Press, via https://www.thetelegraph.com/
KFAR CHOUBA, Lebanon (AP) — Lebanon’s prime minister Tuesday accused Israel of provoking a “dangerous escalation” along the border in an attempt to modify the mandate of a U.N. peacekeeping force in south Lebanon, cautioning against “a slide toward the worse” in coming days.
Hassan Diab’s comments came a day after the Israeli military said it thwarted an infiltration attempt by Hezbollah militants — setting off one of the heaviest exchanges of fire along the volatile Israel-Lebanon frontier since a 2006 war between the two enemies.
Hezbollah denied its fighters had engaged in any attack along the border, but the Israeli military said it was sure the Iranian-backed militant group had carried out the operation, and Israeli forces in the area remained on heightened alert.
In a clear sign the Israeli military did not consider the episode to be over, the army said Tuesday that the northern frontier would be “reinforced with advanced fire capabilities, intelligence collection systems and special units.”
The announcement comes a few days after the military announced it was beefing up the northern border with infantry troops amid tensions with Hezbollah. Israel had been bracing for an attack since an Israeli airstrike in neighboring Syria killed a Hezbollah fighter last week. Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah has vowed to retaliate against any Israeli attack that kills one of its fighters. In a statement issued Monday night, the group said the exchanges of fire were unrelated to Hezbollah’s retaliation, which was still coming.