Hezbollah warns Israel over death of Lebanese civilian

Israel Materials 4 February 2008 17:24 (UTC +04:00)

(dpa) - An official from the Lebanon-based Shiite group Hezbollah on Monday warned Israel that targeting Lebanese civilians "will not pass without retaliation" after a Lebanese man was killed by Israeli gunfire.

Lebanese army sources said the man was killed and another wounded in an incident late Sunday on the outskirts of the village of Ghajjar at the border between Lebanon and Israel.

The Israeli army said the two men had been armed and trying to smuggle drugs into Israel.

"We have said before that targeting Lebanese civilians will not pass without retaliation," Hezbollah MP Mohammed Haidar said.

"It is the right of the resistance Hezbollah to respond to any attack on any civilian," he added.

Tensions between Israel and Lebanon have been high since the end of Israel's war with Hezbollah in 2006.

Hezbollah Chief Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah warned last month that the group would retaliate against any attack on Lebanese civilians in southern Lebanon.

Reports in Israel said Israeli troops opened fired on at least two armed men trying to infiltrate Israel's northern border with Lebanon, killing one and seriously wounding the other.

UNIFIL spokeswoman Yasmina Bouziane said the United Nations force in Lebanon "has launched an immediate investigation to ascertain the facts, looking into initial allegations of smuggling."

In November, 2007, Israeli troops in Ghajjar opened fire, slightly injuring one of two men trying to infiltrate Israel. The injured man was carrying a bag of illicit drugs.

Last month, two Katyusha rockets were launched at northern Israeli town of Shlomi, inflicting damage and no casualties.

Half of Ghajjar is under Israeli control and the other half is in Lebanon.