Israel buries soldiers

2015-01-29 16:07
(File, AFP)

(File, AFP)

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Jerusalem - Israel was burying two soldiers on Thursday killed in a Hezbollah missile strike that triggered Israeli fire on southern Lebanon, raising tensions between the bitter enemies to their highest in years.

But the Israeli-Lebanese border was calm and Israeli officials played down the threat of a new war with the powerful Iran-backed Shi'ite group's militia.

In an unusual declaration, Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon said Hezbollah had passed on a message through the UN peacekeeping mission in southern Lebanon saying it did not want further escalation.

"We have received a message... that, from their point of view, the incident is over," he told public radio.

Analysts say neither side seems keen for a repeat of the devastating Israel-Hezbollah conflict in 2006 and that any response is likely to be limited.

The two soldiers were killed when Hezbollah fired anti-tank missiles at a convoy in an Israeli-occupied area on the border with Lebanon.

Israeli forces responded to the attack - which came in retaliation for an Israeli strike on the Golan Heights that killed senior Hezbollah members - with artillery, tank and air fire on several villages in southern Lebanon.

There were no reports of Lebanese casualties, but a 36-year-old Spanish Únifil peacekeeper was killed in the exchange of fire.

Read more on:    hezbollah  |  lebanon  |  israel  |  middle east peace

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