Eleven Israeli soldiers were reportedly injured, and four fighters were killed, on Monday afternoon, during a gun battle between Hezbollah fighters and Israeli soldiers in Mount Dov area. Israeli artillery and fighter jets fired several bombs at Hezbollah targets.
An Israeli military source reported that two soldiers, and seven Israelis, were injured, during the gun battle.
The source stated that Hezbollah fighters wanted to distract the soldiers while one of their cells infiltrated into the northern borders, in order to abduct Israeli soldiers. The cells which attempted to infiltrate was composed of four fighters.
The fighters fired at a military post in Mount Dov area after approaching it, Israeli online daily, Ynetnews reported.
Exchanges of fire along the border continued throughout the evening, with a mortar shell hitting a house in the town of Metula, the Ynetnews stated.
Israeli online daily Haaretz reported that soldiers ordered the residents of Nahariya, Metula and other northern communities, to remain into bomb shelters.
Israeli soldiers went house-to-house and asked the Israelis to turn the lights of their homes off.
Haaretz added that soldiers killed the four fighters as darkness fell while Hezbollah gunners continued to fire shells at Israeli settlements along the northern border.
Israeli sources estimated that that at least 40 mortar shells were filled from Lebanon towards the western sectors of the northern borders; the shells exploded close to Shlomi settlement.
Shlomi mayor, Gabi No’man, said that he did not receive any reports that the shells landed in the settlement, and added that all of the shells were directed against a nearby military base.
Earlier on Monday, Israeli soldiers ordered the residents of the northern settlements, along the borders with Lebanon, to remain in the shelters. Naharia Hospital declared emergency.
Meanwhile, Israeli police and soldiers closed several roads in the north and deploy patrols along the roads.
The United States condemned Hezbollah’s urged Israel to have restraint in its retaliation, and condemned Hezbollah.
U.S State Department spokesman, Sean McCormack, said that the Lebanese government must act immediately and control the situation in southern Lebanon.
The Lebanon based Al-Manar Television which belongs to Hezbollah, broadcasted a statement made by group. The party said in its statements that the gun battle erupted after an Israeli patrol crossed into the village of Rajar, in the Lebanese borders.
This incident marked the first clash between Hezbollah fighters, and Israeli soldiers; the clash is considered the first in five months. The clash was described as the one of the most ferocious Hezbollah operations in the northern border since the Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon in 2000.
The Israeli army is preparing its list of plans for a possible wider retaliation, senior army source said.