Soldiers were in the vehicle 30 mins before it was destroyed
Israel returns fire with 100 shells, hits team that launched missiles, other targets in S. Lebanon; Hezbollah takes responsibility
The Hezbollah terror group fired several anti-tank guided missiles at an army base and a military ambulance in northern Israel Sunday afternoon, causing no injuries, the Israel Defense Forces said.
Military sources said that the ambulance was empty when it was struck, but that soldiers had been inside half-an-hour earlier.
In response, the Israeli military said its artillery cannons and attack helicopters fired approximately 100 shells and bombs at Hezbollah targets in southern Lebanon.
IDF spokesman Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus said the IDF considered the “tactical event on the ground” to be over as of Sunday evening, but that the larger strategic threat posed by Hezbollah on the border remained.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said no Israelis were so much as “scratched” by the Hezbollah attack. “There were no Israeli injuries, not even a scratch,” Netanyahu said, smiling, at the opening of a Honduras diplomatic office in Jerusalem.
The military said Hezbollah operatives fired two to three missiles at a battalion headquarters outside of the Israeli community of Avivim and at military vehicles nearby shortly after 4:15 p.m. Sunday. Several of the projectiles struck their targets but did not cause any casualties, despite claims to the contrary by Hezbollah, the IDF said.
Israeli soldiers stand next to a self-propelled artillery gun near the Lebanese border outside the northern Israeli town of Kiryat Shemona on August 31, 2019. (JALAA MAREY / AFP)
The Iran-backed terror group took responsibility for the missile strikes, saying in a statement that its fighters “destroyed an ‘Israeli’ military vehicle on the Avivim barracks road [in northern Israel]… and injured those in it.” Hezbollah later said it targeted an armored personnel carrier.
Conricus denied the claims, stressing that no soldiers were injured in the attacks and that the target was a military ambulance — an armored “Ze’ev”-style jeep that was clearly marked as such with a red Jewish star painted on the side of the vehicle.
Two soldiers were flown to Haifa’s Rambam Medical Center, but were discharged. It was not immediately clear if there was legitimate concern that the troops had been injured or if this was an attempt at psychological warfare.
Soldiers had been inside the vehicle, which can hold up to eight people, approximately half an hour before the attack, the army said.
The IDF spokesman said the armored ambulance was destroyed and th
The Iran-backed terror group took responsibility for the missile strikes, saying in a statement that its fighters “destroyed an ‘Israeli’ military vehicle on the Avivim barracks road [in northern Israel]… and injured those in it.” Hezbollah later said it targeted an armored personnel carrier at the army base outside Avivim was damaged.
“The IDF returned fire at the [missile-launching squads] at targets in southern Lebanon,” the army said in a statement.
Lebanese media reported that the IDF bombed sites near the Lebanese border town of Maroun al-Ras.
Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri called US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and senior French diplomat Emmanuel Bonne on Sunday and asked Washington, Paris and the international community “to intervene in facing the developments on the southern Lebanese borders,” Lebanon’s state-run National News Agency reported.
Hezbollah indicated that the missile attack was in response to an airstrike by the IDF last Saturday night that targeted an Iranian-led plot to bomb northern Israel with armed drones, killing several Iranian operatives, including two Hezbollah members. The terror group said the cell that carried out the missile strike was named for its two fallen operatives: Hassan Zabeeb and Yasser Daher.
Further stoking the flames last week was a drone attack in Beirut
— blamed on Israel — that reportedly destroyed key components of a joint Hezbollah-Iran project to manufacture precision-guided missiles in Lebanon.
Photographs that were shared on social media from Avivim in the Upper Galilee region of northern Israel Sunday afternoon showed large plumes of smoke rising outside the community following the attack.
Times of Israel