Israel-Lebanon clash: Could it spark another war?
The Israel-Lebanon clash today along the country's border did not involve Hezbollah, making it relatively controllable. A UN official told the Monitor that UNIFIL – the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Lebanon – was able to end today's fighting.
Lebanon's volatile border witnessed the most serious bout of violence in four years Tuesday when clashes between Lebanese and Israeli soldiers left at least four people dead.Skip to next paragraph
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While tensions have been running high between Lebanon and Israel amid feverish speculation of another war between Israel and Lebanon's militant Shiite Hezbollah, analysts and security sources say that the cross-border clash is probably an isolated incident.
"This is a controllable situation as long as it stays between the armies of two states," says Timur Goksel, a university lecturer in Beirut and former long-serving official with the United Nations peacekeeping force in south Lebanon known as UNIFIL.
How the clash broke out
The fighting broke out around noon when Israeli troops attempted to cut down a tree on the border near the Lebanese village of Addaisseh that apparently was obscuring the view from a military observation post. It remains unclear who fired first – both Lebanon and Israel blamed each other for triggering the fighting.
At least two Lebanese soldiers were killed and another two wounded when an Israeli tank shell struck their checkpoint beside the border. A Lebanese correspondent for Lebanon's Al Akhbar newspaper was reportedly killed and another journalist for the Hezbollah-run Al Manar television was wounded.
Israel said that an Israeli lieutenant colonel was killed and another Israeli soldier "severely wounded." Security sources in Lebanon said that the occurrence of Israeli casualties explained the unusual intensity of the fighting.
"This is the most serious incident since 2006 and these are the first fatalities as a result of the hostilities since 2006," says Milos Strugar, UNIFIL's senior political adviser.