Firefight on Israel-Lebanon border

Monday, August 01, 2011 |  Ryan Jones

Israeli and Lebanese soldiers enaged in a brief gun battle along Israel's northern border on Monday.

An Israeli border patrol came under fire from a Lebanese soldier while conducting a routine operation. The Israelis returned fire, wounding the soldier. There were no Israeli casualties.

Lebanese media claimed that the Israeli patrol had crossed the border into Lebanon, thus justifying the attack. But Israel insisted its troops were on the Israeli side of the internationally-recognized border when they were fired upon.

This would not be the first time the Lebanese army has attacked an Israeli border patrol unprovoked.

In 2010, a Lebanese army sniper shot and killed an Israeli commander as his troops worked to prune a tree that was disrupting the Israel's electronic border fence. Israel's retaliatory fired killed two Lebanese soldiers.

In that incident, too, the Lebanese claimed the Israelis had crossed the border line. But UN officials later confirmed that the Israelis had been operating on their side of the so-called "Blue Line." Lebanon refused to apologize.

Lebanon does not recognize the Blue Line as the international border, even though the UN does. Lebanon insists that the Blue Line puts some Lebanese territory inside Israel.

The Lebanese position regarding the Blue Line has only hardened since Hizballah gained control of the government in Beirut.

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