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Sunday, 7 April, 2002, 21:52 GMT 22:52 UK
Tensions rise on Lebanon border
Israeli border patrol
Israel says the attacks are a major escalation
Tensions have escalated on the Lebanese border with Israel after a series of cross-border attacks on Sunday.

Six Israeli soldiers were wounded when guerrillas across the border in Lebanon fired rockets, mortars and bullets at three different places close to the border.

Israeli warplanes were quick to retaliate - firing a series of missiles at suspected hide-outs of Hezbollah guerrillas.

For the first time in two years, the Israeli army briefly ordered all civilians living close to the border to evacuate into bomb shelters.

Military sources in Israel described the attacks as a major escalation.

Israeli officials have warned in the past that they will retaliate harshly to cross-border fire.

Second Front

Four of the wounded Israelis were injured when rockets fell in the Israeli village of Avivim. Reports say all four were female soldiers.

Earlier in the day, shots had been fired at the kibbutz of Manara about 12 kilometres away.

Israeli shelling in south Lebanon
Israel has been retaliating with shells

A military position in the occupied Golan Heights was also hit, injuring two.

The Israeli army briefly ordered border residents into bomb shelters, but an hour later called off the alert as the fighting died down.

Israeli officials believe the Lebanese guerrilla group, Hezbollah, is trying to open a second front as Israel pushes on with its military offensive in the West Bank.

Israeli warplanes have already been attacking southern Lebanon in retaliation for earlier rocket and mortar attacks in the disputed Shebaa Farms.

See also:

07 Apr 02 | Middle East
Palestinian death toll mounts
05 Apr 02 | Middle East
Israel hits back at Hezbollah
04 Apr 02 | Middle East
Sharon warns Hezbollah
04 Apr 02 | Middle East
Who are Hezbollah?
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