Various news outlets are reporting deaths in a skirmish on the Lebanon-Israel border today. Al Jazeera reports:
At least two Lebanese soldiers have been killed by Israeli forces during an exchange of rocket and gunfire along the border between the two countries.
A journalist was also killed and five more Lebanese soldiers wounded in the Israeli shelling on Tuesday, Al Jazeera’s correspondent in Lebanon said.
“The Israelis fired four rockets that fell near a Lebanese army position in the village of Adaisseh and the Lebanese army fired back,” a Lebanese security official in the area said.
Hezbollah’s Al Manar television station said a high-ranking Israeli soldier was also killed in the border incident. The report could not be independently verified….
Jacky Rowland, Al Jazeera’s correspondent in Jerusalem, said “the overall picture that seems to be emerging from Israeli television reports is that the whole incident seems to have started over some misunderstanding”.
“There was some kind of Israeli incursion perceived … to have crossed over into Lebanese territory” which precipitated the exchange of fire, Rowland said.
This comes amidst increased tension in Lebanon over Hezbollah’s alledged role in the Hariri assassination and a recent failed rocket attack on Eilat. Whilst Bashar al Assad has warned that a war is looking ever more likely, Robert Fisk suggests that the recent natural resources found off the coast of Lebanon and Israel might actually delay conflict for a year.
Past precedent would suggest that this is not the first shot in an Israeli invasion. In 1993, 1996, 2006 and of course 1982 Israel attacked quite suddenly and in great numbers, not following a quick fire fight. That said, we are entering the preferred ‘war season’ of summer. Lets hope that the various leaders on each side of the border keep their heads and don’t expose Lebanon to yet more carnage and destruction.