Israeli forces shelled areas in southern Lebanon on July 27, Monday, leading to the destruction of a house whose residents narrowly escaped harm. Israel claimed that the shelling was to stop Hezbollah fighters trying to infiltrate the Shebaa Farm area along the border under Israeli control. The claim was denied by Hezbollah in an official statement, which called the shelling a one-sided attack on Lebanon.
Israel claimed that on Monday, several Hezbollah fighters tried to enter the Shebaa Farm area, which is claimed by Lebanon but under Israeli occupation since 1967. According to Israel, its forces opened fire to stop them. Israeli media has been speculating that Hezbollah would retaliate for the death of one of its fighters in an Israeli air raid in Syria last week. Hezbollah has warned that retaliation for the killing of its fighter in Syria will come soon.
Lebanese prime minister Hasan Diab called Monday’s aggression by Israel a violation of the country’s sovereignty and UN resolution 1701. He called for “caution in the coming days”, expressing the fear “that things will slip for the worse in the light of the severe tension on our borders” with Israel.
The spokesperson of the United Nations peacekeeping Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), created in 1978, issued a statement and asked both parties to maintain maximum restraint.
Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said that “Israel is prepared for any scenario”. Netanyahu faces a difficult political situation at home with popular protests against his government’s handling of the COVID-19 situation, and demands mounting for his resignation over allegations of corruption and misuse of power. He has been looking for various opportunities to fan nationalistic sentiments.
Hezbollah was born as a resistance movement against the Israeli occupation of southern Lebanon between 1967 and 2000. It was in the forefront of the resistance when Israel invaded Lebanon in 2006. Last September, Hezbollah retaliated against an Israeli drone attack on one of its offices in Beirut by attacking a military vehicle inside Israeli-controlled areas.