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IDF fires shells into Lebanon following Hezbollah bomb blast

Hezbollah bomb explodes near Israeli forces operating on Har Dov in northern Israel; none injured.
By Gil Ronen, Cynthia Blank
First Publish: 1/4/2016, 3:41 PM / Last Update: 1/4/2016, 4:34 PM

IDF artillery fires on Lebanon
IDF artillery fires on Lebanon
Olivier Fitoussi/Flash 90

An explosive device detonated on Monday near IDF forces taking part in an exercise on Har Dov in northern Israel. According to reports, none were injured in the attack. 

Lebanese terror group Hezbollah claimed responsibility for the attack and said its hoped-for target was a senior IDF officer. 

IDF spokesperson Brig. Gen. Moti Almoz said the explosive device was "relatively large" and it blew up two heavy pieces of army equipment as it opened an axis road near Har Dov. 

Army forces responded by activating a "smoke screen" and firing artillery rounds on Hezbollah targets in southern Lebanon. 

Israeli authorities have warned residents of northern Israel to remain in their homes. 

According to Lebanese media reports, the IDF has been firing artillery rounds into southern Lebanon since Sunday and continued the fire on Monday, with a total of 20 shells. 

Iran's PressTV claimed that Sunday was the fourth consecutive day in which the IDF has been shelling the Har Dov / Shebaa Farms area near the border with Syria, out of concern that Hezbollah forces might take advantage of the stormy weather and the poor visibility to launch a revenge strike, following the killing of terrorist Samir Kuntar.

Israeli news source Maariv Online cited residents of the Israeli Golan Heights who have also reported hearing the artillery fire on Sunday and over the weekend.

A military source told Maariv Online that the shelling was meant to keep shepherds away from the border, but the news outlet cited an anonymous local commander as saying that the real reason was concern that Hezbollah is using the foggy weather conditions to lay explosive charges along the border.

Kuntar was killed in a missile attack on the southern Syrian city of Jaramana, southeast of Damascus, on December 20, 2015.

Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah said after the strike that his organization reserves "the right to respond to this assassination at the time and place of our choosing."

We have no doubt or question that Israel is the one which assassinated Samir Kuntar, its planes fired precise missiles on an apartment (he was in),” Nasrallah added.

Senior Hezbollah official Hashem Safieddine also said that Israel will be "held accountable" for Kuntar’s death.

"If the Israelis think by killing Samir Kuntar they have closed an account then they are very mistaken because they know and will come to know that they have instead opened several more," Safieddine added.