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Tuesday, 9 April, 2002, 17:24 GMT 18:24 UK
Hezbollah renews attacks on Israelis
An Israeli tank shells Lebanon from the border
Israel has pounded targets in southern Lebanon
Hezbollah guerrillas in southern Lebanon have fired rockets, machine-guns and mortars at Israeli army positions in a new flare-up on the border.

At least two Israeli posts came under fire on Tuesday in the disputed Shebaa Farms area near the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, witnesses and local police said.

The Israelis responded by shelling four villages in southern Lebanon and launching an air raid, drawing anti-aircraft fire from Hezbollah gunners, police said.

There were no reports of casualties.

The attacks came a day after the Israeli army called up fresh reservists with a view to deploying them on the northern border, amid fears that the conflict with the Palestinians may spread to a second front.

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

Hezbollah claim

With support from the Syrian and Lebanese authorities, Hezbollah claims the area - a patch of land of around 10 square kilometres - as part of Lebanon.

A man inspects damage done during a suspected Hezbollah raid in the village of Ghajar
Hezbollah has stepped up attacks in recent days
It says Israel should have withdrawn from the area when it ended its occupation of southern Lebanon nearly two years ago.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.

In a similar clash on Monday, Israeli forces responded to guerrilla anti-tank missiles and mortar rounds by shelling the outskirts of the Lebanese border town of Kfar Shuba, local police said.

And on Sunday, six Israeli soldiers were injured and civilians ordered into bomb shelters for an hour when militants targeted several other points along the border.

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

See also:

08 Apr 02 | Middle East
Troops mobilised for Lebanon border
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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