A Hezbollah-affiliated TV network on Monday published footage it said depicted the terror group’s missile strike on an Israeli military vehicle the day before, which led to a brief exchange of fire along the Lebanese border.
The footage showed two anti-tank missiles apparently narrowly missing an IDF vehicle on the road between Moshav Avivim and Kibbutz Yir’on near the northern border. Israeli sources said Monday evening that Israeli planes were “already in the air,” and that only the fact that the vehicle was not hit and soldiers were not injured averted an Israeli response in which Hezbollah’s precision guided missile project would have been destroyed.
The footage from Al-Manar TV shows a Hezbollah fighter launching a Kornet guided missile at what appears to be a moving Israeli armored personnel carrier patrolling along the border fence. An additional launch at the APC is seen from further away. While the Hezbollah-affiliated network stated that the two strikes destroyed the APC, the footage does not show that the military vehicle sustained a direct hit; it shows billows of smoke surrounding it as the missiles land.
The APC itself was not in fact hit by either projectile, according to findings from an IDF analysis published earlier Monday. Rather, a piece of shrapnel from the explosion of one of the projectiles hit a tire, forcing the vehicle to stop on the side of the road, the military said.
“The mannequins that were placed in the Israeli military vehicles were not of use in misleading the resistance in choosing the target of its response,” Al-Manar reported, referencing a psychological war tactic that Lebanese media caught the IDF employing last week, when the military parked a jeep along the northern border with uniformed dummies inside.
The IDF said that no Israelis were injured in Sunday’s attack, but Hezbollah has maintained that its strike killed and injured Israeli soldiers.
Pictures and videos showing injured soldiers being evacuated via helicopter from the scene on Sunday afternoon had been a ploy meant to trick Hezbollah into thinking it had caused casualties, Israeli sources said later Sunday.
The Al-Manar clip also showed what appeared to be a civilian vehicle that passed on the same road before the APC was targeted.
In a speech later Monday evening, Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah insisted the terror group hit an Israeli target, but did not explicitly respond to Israeli declarations that there were no Israeli casualties.
“It certainly hit it,” the Hezbollah chief said, referring to the missile attack on the Israeli military vehicle. “What happened is a reflection of boldness, bravery, precision and responsibility.”
A tense calm took hold in northern Israel on Monday following the exchange of fire the day before. Israel and Hezbollah, which fought a month-long war in 2006, have indicated they do not want to go to war but appeared on a collision course in recent days after Hezbollah vowed it would retaliate for two strikes against the Iran-backed terrorist group — one in Syria claimed by Israel, and another, in Beirut, that the group lays at Israel’s door, but Israel has not officially acknowledged.