Israeli gunfire wounds Lebanese soldier on border
Israeli soldiers - REUTERS/Baz Ratner

BEIRUT: A Lebanese soldier was wounded on Sunday after Israeli soldiers opened fire near the border between the two countries, security officials said.

There were conflicting reports about the shooting in the Shebaa farms, a disputed area along the frontier between Lebanon and Israel. The U.N. peacekeeping force in Lebanon, UNIFIL, said it was aware of the reports and was investigating.

Lebanese security officials said the soldier was wounded when an Israeli patrol opened fire on a Lebanese army post near the border. The soldier’s condition was not immediately known.

The outpost called headquarters to dispatch an armored unit to protect the soldiers, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media. They did not say whether Lebanese troops returned fire at the Israeli army patrol.

There was no immediate comment from the Lebanese army.

The Israeli military offered a different account, saying that its troops opened fire at a number of suspects who crossed into Israeli-controlled territory from Lebanon. It said the suspects fled back into Lebanon after the shooting and that the incident is being investigated.

The army did not say whether the suspects were militants or civilians, or where exactly the incident occurred.

Israel and Lebanon have been in a state of war for six decades, and do not have diplomatic relations with one another.

Their border has remained mostly quiet since a month-long war in the summer of 2006 between Israel and Hezbollah guerrillas in Lebanon.

There have been sporadic outbursts of violence, the latest of which took place late last year when a Lebanese sniper killed an Israeli soldier.

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