MAROUN AL-RAS, Lebanon: Lebanon's Hezbollah leader said on Monday that while a flare-up with Israel at the border had ended, the episode had launched a "new phase" in which the Iran-backed movement no longer has red lines.
In a televised speech, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said the new focus, now in the hands of fighters in the field, would be on targeting Israeli drones entering Lebanon's skies.
He said Hezbollah's Sunday attack had sent Israel a message that "if you attack, then all your border, your forces and your settlements" will be at risk.
The Lebanon-Israel border area was quiet on Monday, after Iran-backed Hezbollah and the Israeli army exchanged cross-border fire on Sunday.
Israel’s military said anti-tank missiles from Lebanon targeted an army base and vehicles. It responded with fire into southern Lebanon, after a week of growing tension raised fears of a new war with long-time enemy Hezbollah. Hezbollah said its fighters destroyed an Israeli military vehicle, killing and wounding those inside. Israel said there were no casualties.
Following the cross-border fire, the Israel army resumed its excavation work and lifted the dirt mounds near the Wazzani parks in Nabatieh’s Marjeyoun district, Lebanon state news agency, NNA reported.
Three dust trucks were also transported to the southern side of the occupied Syrian village of Ghajar.
Israel and Hezbollah fought a month-long war in 2006 after Hezbollah captured two Israeli soldiers in a cross-border raid, but neither side seems eager for another conflict now. Reuters witnesses on the Lebanese side of the border said all was quiet on Monday morning. The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), the UN peacekeeping force on the frontier, was seen patrolling the border.
The Israeli shelling into Lebanon stopped at 6pm local time on Sunday, Lebanese state media said. The UN peacekeeping force on the frontier said calm had returned to the region at night. The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) said it had urged both sides to “exercise utmost restraint to prevent any further escalation.”