Israeli PM tours Israeli-Lebanese border amidst escalation

2020-07-29 03:15:57 GMT2020-07-29 11:15:57(Beijing Time) Xinhua English
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks at the Northern Command Headquarters of Israel Defense Forces in Safed, northern Israel, on July 28, 2020. Netanyahu visited the Israel-Lebanon border on Tuesday, a day after a military escalation in the region. (David Cohen/JINI via Xinhua)  Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks at the Northern Command Headquarters of Israel Defense Forces in Safed, northern Israel, on July 28, 2020. Netanyahu visited the Israel-Lebanon border on Tuesday, a day after a military escalation in the region. (David Cohen/JINI via Xinhua)

JERUSALEM, July 28 (Xinhua) -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited the Israel-Lebanon border on Tuesday, a day after a military escalation in the region.

The Israeli prime minister's office said he held a security assessment and briefing with Israel Defense Forces (IDF) chief of staff Aviv Kohavi and other senior officials at the military's Northern Command Headquarters.

The tour took place a day after Israel said an armed "terrorist squad" attempted to infiltrate into Israel and had fled back to Lebanon after Israeli troops opened fire. Israel also fired artillery into southern Lebanon.

"Everything happening now is the result of the effort by Iran and its Lebanese proxies to entrench militarily in our region," Netanyahu said during his tour.

He also accused Hezbollah leader Hasan Nasrallah of "serving the Iranian interest at Lebanon's expense."

"I do not suggest that anybody try the IDF or the State of Israel. We are determined to defend ourselves," he warned, adding that the military is "well prepared for every possible scenario."

He warned that Israel will continue to "take action" to thwart Iran's military presence in the region. "We will do whatever is necessary to defend ourselves and I suggest that Hezbollah consider this simple fact," he said.

Hezbollah denied any involvement in Monday's incident, saying Israel's charges on thwarting an infiltration were "completely false."

On his Twitter account, Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab condemned Israel saying that "Israel has once again violated Lebanon's sovereignty... in a dangerous military escalation."

The violence was the heaviest fighting along the volatile border in nearly a year.

Tensions along Israel's borders with Lebanon and Syria have been on the rise since a fighter with Hezbollah was killed in an apparent Israeli airstrike in Syria last week.

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