BEIRUT (AP) — The leader of Hezbollah said Wednesday that militants from his group were behind last week’s bombing that wounded four Israeli soldiers, threatening to attack any other Israeli forces that cross the border into Lebanon.
Sheik Hassan Nasrallah said in a live interview with Lebanese television station Al-Mayadeen that two remote-control bombs detonated inside Lebanon when the Israeli force crossed the border. He said Hezbollah members knew in advance the Israelis were coming and planted the bombs to target them.
The Lebanese army said the soldiers were 400 meters (yards) inside Lebanon when the explosion struck. Israel appeared to dispute that, saying its soldiers were wounded while carrying out routine patrols along the border with Lebanon.
It was not immediately clear why Israeli soldiers would have been on Lebanese soil — a rare occurrence since Israel withdrew its troops from the country in 2000, ending an 18-year military occupation there. Hezbollah led a guerrilla war against Israel until its troops withdrew.
Israel fought a war against Lebanon’s Hezbollah in 2006, which broke out after the Iranian-backed militant group’s guerrillas crossed into Israel and captured two Israeli soldiers. The ensuing monthlong conflict killed about 1,200 Lebanese and 160 Israelis.
The last serious clashes along the frontier took place in 2010 when Lebanese and Israeli troops exchanged fire across the border, killing at least three people.
Nasrallah’s interview was to mark the end of the 2006 war. The group is scheduled to hold a large rally in south Lebanon near the border with Israel on Friday, during which Nasrallah is scheduled to give a speech.
“The feet that will enter our land and we know about it will be cut. … This is our right,” Nasrallah said. “We will not forgive any ground violation of our land.”
Nasrallah’s comments also came hours after caretaker Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour filed complaint to the U.N. Security Council regarding the Israeli troop movement, calling it “a flagrant violation of Lebanese sovereignty.”
Some officials have said that Hezbollah’s involvement in Syria’s civil war will affect its ability in facing Israel. Hezbollah fighters have been fighting along Syrian President Bashar Assad’s forces against rebels trying to remove him from power.