BEIRUT (AFP) – Lebanese anti-aircraft guns opened fire on two Israeli warplanes that were violating its airspace at medium altitude on Sunday, the military said.
“The army’s anti-aircraft guns fired at two Israeli warplanes overflying Hasbaya” in southeastern Lebanon, an army statement said.
The incident came amid rising regional tension and heightened concern in Lebanon over recent Israeli threats against Shiite militant party Hezbollah and its backers Syria and Iran.
Israel and Hezbollah fought a 34-day war in the summer of 2006 which destroyed much of southern Lebanon and killed more than 1,200 Lebanese, mostly civilians, and close to 160 Israelis, mainly soldiers.
UN Security Council Resolution 1701, adopted unanimously in August 2006, ended the war and expanded a UN peacekeeping force deployed at the Lebanese border with Israel.
Israel’s regular overflights into southern Lebanon, a Hezbollah stronghold, are a breach of Resolution 1701, but the Jewish state argues they are necessary to monitor what it claims is massive arms smuggling by Hezbollah.
While Lebanon’s army reports almost-daily Israeli violations of Lebanese airspace, the military rarely opens fire unless the planes fly within range of its guns.