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Monday, 8 April, 2002, 16:08 GMT 17:08 UK
Troops mobilised for Lebanon border
An Israeli tank passes on the Israel-Lebanon border
Israel has responded to attacks with tank fire
The Israeli army has called up fresh reservists in response to an escalating wave of clashes with guerrilla fighters along the border with Lebanon.

Skirmishes continued into a fifth consecutive day on Monday, as the Israeli army said it was mobilising troops with a view to deploying them on the northern border.

The Lebanon-based Hezbollah movement fired anti-tank missiles and mortar rounds on Israeli posts near the disputed Shebaa Farms on the border between Lebanon and the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, witnesses said.

Israel fired shells in retaliation, four of which landed on the outskirts of the Lebanese border town of Kfar Shuba, local police said.

There were no reports of casualties.

The attack came a day after six Israeli soldiers were injured and civilians ordered into bomb shelters for an hour when militants targeted several other points along the border.

Border flashpoint

Hezbollah has stepped up attacks on Israeli posts near the Shebaa Farms since Israel began its current offensive in the West Bank.

A man inspects damage done during a suspected Hezbollah raid in the village of Ghajar
Hezbollah has stepped up attacks in recent days
With the backing of Beirut and Damascus, the group claims the area - a patch of land of around 10 square kilometres - is part of Lebanon.

It says Israel should have withdrawn from the area when it ended its occupation of southern Lebanon nearly two years ago.

But Israel says the farms are on the Syrian side of the border and so are part of the Golan Heights, which it has occupied since 1967.

On Sunday, the six Israelis were wounded when the guerrillas opened fire at guard posts near Avivim village in northern Galilee, a border farm called Menara Kibbutz and at Israeli army outposts on the Golan Heights.

One Israeli security source told Reuters it was the most serious cross-border incident since the Israeli withdrawal, which left the front relatively peaceful.

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's representative in Lebanon appealed to both sides to respect the border.

See also:

07 Apr 02 | Middle East
Tensions rise on Lebanon border
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
03 Apr 02 | Middle East
Hezbollah plays for high stakes
04 Apr 02 | Middle East
Who are Hezbollah?
25 May 00 | Middle East
In focus: Shebaa farms
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