UK & World News

  • 16 December 2013, 5:03

Israeli Soldier Shot Dead On Lebanon Border

An Israeli soldier has been shot dead by a Lebanese army sniper on the border between the two countries, leading to threats of an Israeli retaliation.

The Israel Defence Forces (IDF) has confirmed the death near Rosh Hanikra, adding that the soldier was driving along the border when he was shot.

"The soldier was treated at the scene and was then evacuated to a hospital. He later died of his wounds," the IDF said in a statement.

"Initial enquiry confirmed that the sniper is a member of the Lebanese Armed Forces."

The death raises the possibility of renewed fighting in the volatile border region, which has remained mostly quiet since a month-long war in 2006.

Hizbollah, the guerrilla group that waged the war seven years ago, does not appear to be involved in the death.

Lebanon's National News Agency has also confirmed the shooting by a member of the Lebanese army.

The Lebanese army has opened fire in the past after saying Israeli soldiers had tried to infiltrate Lebanese territory.

Lieutenant Colonel Peter Lerner, an Israeli army spokesman, said Israel had protested "this outrageous breach of Israel's sovereignty" with UN peacekeeping forces and heightened its state of preparedness.

"We will not tolerate aggression against the state of Israel, and maintain the right to exercise self-defence against perpetrators of attacks against Israel and its civilians," he said.

Since the 2006 war, the border has experienced only sporadic violence.

Israel has responded with airstrikes and artillery fire following a number of rocket attacks and shootings across the border.

In the most serious incident, a high-ranking Israeli officer was killed by a Lebanese sniper in 2010 after Israeli forces tried to cut down a tree along the border.

Israel responded with artillery fire, killing two Lebanese soldiers and a journalist.

Andrea Tenenti, a spokesman for UN forces in southern Lebanon, said the UN was informed of a "serious incident" along the border.

:: Watch Sky News live on television, on Sky channel 501, Virgin Media channel 602, Freeview channel 82 and Freesat channel 202.