No Quiet on the Northern Front

Hizbullah terrorists pounded the Har Dov area on the Lebanese border with mortar shells yesterday. Israel had earlier fired warning shots, after an Arab shepherd entered Israel. No one was hurt.<BR><br/><BR><br/>

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, | updated: 02:24

Israeli military officials said Hizbullah often sends shepherds into Israel as a provocation "in order to escalate the border conflict." Soldiers shot over the head of the shepherd as a warning not to advance through the highly sensitive security zone. Hizbullah responded yesterday afternoon by launching eight mortar shells, six of which fell near the Gladiola military outpost. The Air Force immediately sent helicopter gun ships to patrol the area from the air, and artillery units fired at Hizbullah positions.

Lebanese terrorists claimed that Israeli soldiers had fired at three houses across the border.

Hizbullah also attacked the Har Dov area last week, and IDF Northern Commander Maj.-Gen. Benny Gantz said he expects similar incursions at least until the Lebanese elections, scheduled in the next several weeks.

Ten days ago, Hizbullah fired rockets on the Israeli community of Shlomi during evening Independence Day celebrations, and also attacked Har Dov the following day. The attack on Shlomi caused heavy damage to a bakery, but no one was hurt.

Military sources said the terrorists want an excuse to fire at Israeli positions in order to win popularity with voters. They estimated that Hizbullah is not interested in a major battle with the IDF.

Israeli politicians and analysts are commemorating the fifth anniversary this week of the IDF's rushed retreat from Lebanon. It is widely agreed that though the pullout has led to relative quiet on the northern front, it also enabled Hizbullah's build-up of arms and rocket-launching stations along the border, and provided encouragement and stimulus for the Oslo War.