Hezbollah chief admits group targeted Israeli patrol

Hassan Nasrallah tells Al-Safir daily that blast was ‘part of the reply’ to reported Israeli strikes on Shiite group

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah (AP/Hussein Malla)
Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah (AP/Hussein Malla)

BEIRUT — Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah said in an interview published on Monday that his Lebanese Shiite group was behind a blast that targeted Israeli troops on the border between the two countries last month.

“Yes, the explosion in the Shebaa Farms that Hezbollah has not claimed until now was the work of the resistance, which means the work of Hezbollah,” Nasrallah told the Al-Safir daily.

The blast, on March 14, came after Israeli warplanes carried out air strikes inside Lebanon that were believed to have targeted its positions near Lebanon’s border with Syria.

“This was not the reply, but this was part of the reply,” Nasrallah told Al-Safir.

The message to Israel, he said, was “you hit a military target and the resistance responded by hitting a military target.”

The blast hit an Israeli patrol along the border near the disputed Shebaa Farms area, known as Har Dov. The Israeli army said none of its troops were hurt in the blast.

Another explosion in the same area days later left four soldiers injured and drew Israeli retaliatory strikes at Syrian army positions.

Tensions have been running high between Israel and Hezbollah for months, with the Jewish state warning it would carry out strikes to prevent the group from obtaining advanced weaponry.

On February 24, Israeli warplanes reportedly bombed a Hezbollah position on the Lebanese-Syrian border, though the Jewish state refused to officially confirm or deny the action.

Hezbollah acknowledged the Israeli strikes and pledged they would not “stand without a response,” adding that the group would “choose the appropriate time, place and means.”

Hezbollah has also come under fire from Israel in Syria, where the group is fighting alongside the regime against an uprising.

On March 5, the Israeli army said it had opened fire and hit two members of the Shiite group as they tried to plant a bomb near the Israeli-Syrian ceasefire line.

Israel fought a war against Hezbollah in 2006, which killed more than 1,200 people in Lebanon, mostly civilians, and some 160 Israelis, mostly soldiers.

Times of Israel staff contributed to the report.

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