Violence Between Israel, Lebanon

Violence Between Israel, Lebanon

JERUSALEM (AP) -- The Israeli military on Sunday said that Lebanese militants had fired a barrage of anti-tank missiles at an Israeli army base, scoring a number of direct hits on Israeli targets. Israel responded with heavy fire toward targets in southern Lebanon.

The sudden burst of violence raised the prospect of a wider round of fighting between Israel and the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah. Israel has been bracing for a possible response from Hezbollah following a series of alleged Israeli strikes on Iranian and Hezbollah targets in recent weeks. The bitter enemies, which fought a month-long war in 2006, have appeared to be heading toward renewed hostilities in recent weeks.

The Israeli military statement reported a "number of hits" by anti-tank missiles fired at an army base and military vehicles near the Lebanese border in northern Israel. It said it was responding with fire toward "the sources of fire and targets in southern Lebanon."

There was no word on casualties.

In Lebanon, Hezbollah said the unit that carried the attack on Israel was named after two operatives who were killed in an Israeli airstrike on Syria on Aug. 24. It said one of its units had destroyed an Israeli military vehicle and wounded the people inside.

Straight after the attack, Israeli artillery fired shells on the Lebanese side of the border including the village of Maroun el-Ras triggering fires.

Israel and Hezbollah are bitter enemies that fought a monthlong war in 2006 that ended in a stalemate. Despite their deep hostility, they have largely refrained from direct fighting for the past 13 years.

The military said it had encouraged residents near the northern border with Lebanon to stay indoors and ordered public bomb shelters to open.