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Wednesday, 23 January, 2002, 16:45 GMT
Israeli forces clash with Hezbollah
Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah
Hezbollah has a long history of conflict with Israel
Israeli jet fighters have fired missiles on south Lebanon after an attack by the Lebanese militant group, Hezbollah, against its army posts in a disputed border area.

In Israel's first air raid on Lebanon in three months, the warplanes reportedly fired two missiles at suspected Hezbollah positions near Kfarshouba, a village facing the Shebaa Farms.

Israeli artillery also fired a number of shells, Lebanese security sources said.

The attack came after Hezbollah fired rockets and mortars at three Israeli army posts.

It was not immediately clear if they were hit, but witnesses reported thick smoke rising from the area.

Flashpoint

An Israeli army spokesman in Jerusalem said no-one had been wounded.

There were no immediate reports of casualties on the Lebanese side.

Israeli warplanes last fired at Hezbollah positions in Lebanon in October, following guerrilla attacks on Israeli outposts in the same area.

The Shebaa Farms have been a flashpoint since Israel pulled out of Lebanon in May, 2000 - but have been quiet for several months.

Israel seized the farms in 1967 from Syria, but Lebanon claims the area as its territory.

See also:

11 Jan 02 | Middle East
Lebanon rebuffs US over Hezbollah
23 Jul 01 | Middle East
The next Middle East flashpoint?
25 May 00 | Middle East
In focus: Shebaa farms
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