On Monday, Hezbollah set off a large bomb on the Israel-Lebanon border in an attempt to blow up two armored IDF military vehicles clearing a road in the area.
The incident occurred on the western section of Mount Dov. No injuries were reported on the Israeli side. The IDF quickly responded with cross-border artillery fire aimed at targets in Lebanon.
IDF Spokesman Brig.-Gen. Moti Almoz said that the explosive, which targeted two heavy armored vehicles, one of them a D-9 bulldozer, was “relatively large”, the Jerusalem Post reported.
“We have opened artillery fire, and created a smokescreen to cover the area. We are in control of the incident,” Almoz said in a statement.
Israel has been shelling the Sheba Farms region, near the intersection where the Syrian, Israeli and Lebanese borders meet, in an effort to head off any possible reprisal attacks from Hezbollah after one of their chief commanders, Samir Kuntar, was killed in an airstrike in Damascus.
Hezbollah holds Israel responsible for Kuntar’s death, although Israel has not confirmed that it was behind the airstrike. Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah has threatened Israel several times in the weeks since. “The retaliation to Samir’s assassination will inevitably come,” he said, stating that Hezbollah would not tolerate the “blood of our jihadist fighters and brothers to be shed anywhere in this world.”
In anticipation of any retaliation on Israel’s border with Lebanon, and partly due to the recent stormy weather, the IDF has been firing artillery rounds at the border fence for the past four days. The artillery fire was intended to deter Hezbollah militants from taking advantage of poor visibility to plant bombs on the Israeli border.
Israeli farmers near the border have been moved away from the volatile area by the army, but otherwise, Almoz said that residents of northern Israel did not need to take any special safety measures.