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Israeli warplanes strike south Lebanon
Updated: 2004-06-21 08:38

Israeli warplanes struck what the army said were Hizbollah anti-aircraft batteries in southern Lebanon Sunday evening, causing no casualties.

Hizbollah television station al-Manar said the planes struck a hill in southwestern Lebanon where an Israeli military base stood until the army withdrew from southern Lebanon in May 2000. Lebanese residents said they heard several explosions. A security source in Beirut said nobody was hurt in the strike.

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon speaks to a crowd during a celebration marking the 75th anniversary of the founding the the Jewish Agency, at Hebrew University, in Jerusalem, Sunday, June 20, 2004. Set up before the founding of the state of Israel, the Jewish Agency encourages and facilitates immigration to the Jewish homeland. [AP]
The Israeli army issued a statement in Jerusalem saying the airforce attacked Hizbollah gunners that had fired a salvo of anti-aircraft shells into northern Israel earlier in the day. The shells hit an army base but caused no casualties.

"Following the Hizbollah attack, the Israeli air force targeted and destroyed a Hizbollah outpost in the western sector of southern Lebanon, from which a canon was used to fire on northern Israel...under the guise of anti-aircraft fire," the army said in a statement.

The army accused Hizbollah of deliberately firing anti-aircraft shells at a low trajectory into Israel in order to attack its citizens. A teen-ager was killed in such a strike last year, the army said.

Hizbollah has said the salvos are aimed at Israeli warplanes that have violated Lebanese air space.

"The State of Israel is determined not to allow attacks from Lebanese territory and to hold the governments of Lebanon and Syria responsible for these actions," the army said.

The incident was the latest flare-up on the Israeli-Lebanese border in recent days.

On June 8, Hizbollah struck Israeli positions in the disputed Shebaa Farms area, a day after Israeli warplanes raided a Palestinian base near Beirut. That strike followed what Israel called an attempt by Lebanese guerrillas to shell its naval craft.

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